With increasing congestion across cities in India, Maruti Suzuki India expects sales of its vehicles with auto gear shift to pick up further next year, according to company Senior Executive Officer, Marketing & Sales Shashank Srivastava.
The company had introduced the auto gear shift (AGS) technology that relieves drivers from manually changing gears using the clutch, for the first time in 2013-14 on its Celerio hatchback. It has cumulatively sold 7.74 lakh units of such vehicles across its portfolio so far.
“After we introduced AGS, slowly we have expanded it in so many of our models. We do believe that with increased congestion, especially in urban areas, AGS is a further addition to the ease of driving. So we believe technology will pick up even further,” Srivastava told.
The company has nine models – Celerio, Alto K10, WagonR, Dzire, Ignis, Swift, Brezza, S-Presso and Baleno – which come with the AGS option.
In terms of AGS penetration, he said, “It varies between 12 per cent to 23 per cent across the models” and the volume among individual models also “varies because of different times of introduction”.
Celerio has clocked cumulative sales of 2 lakh units of AGS, followed by WagonR at 1.39 lakh units, Swift 1.24 lakh units, Dzire 1.01 lakh units, Alto K10 68,000 units, Ignis 49,000 units, Brezza 39,000 units, S-Presso 37,000 units and Baleno 20,000 units.
On the increasing acceptance of the AGS technology, Srivastava said it is mainly due to the affordability factor. He cited the example of entry-level SUVs where the price difference between a normal transmission and AGS, is just about ₹50,000 resulting in AGS penetration of around 19 per cent.
On the other hand, for the same type of vehicle with dual-clutch transmission (DCT) or continuously variable transmission (CVT) technology, the price difference is over ₹1.2 lakh leading to a low penetration of the automated transmission option to just about 2 per cent.
“With people now wanting more ease of driving,” Srivastava said sales of AGS vehicles will also accelerate “like what happened with power steering, which had a premium and people took some time to shift from manual to pay the premium but now everything is almost power steering”.