Toyota recently introduced Yaris with CVT transmission option from base variant and more than 65 percent of bookings are for automatic models
When a new technology is introduced, it is always expensive but as time goes by price will drop and improvements will be made. Automatic cars were available in India for a long time, but we preferred manual transmission as automatic models were priced at a premium and not efficient also.
Globally, the popularity of automatic is increasing thanks to new technology. Finally India is also catching up with global trend as we are also moving towards automatic cars. In established markets like US and Japan, automatic cars share is 80-90 percent. Three years ago automatic cars accounted for just 5 percent of total sales in India but in 2018, it is more than 10-12 percent, which is a big improvement.
The big change happened with the introduced of AMT transmission as customers began to accept them as they are priced closer to manual cars and offer similar efficiency. This promoted more customers towards automatic cars, then manufacturers started to introduce proper CVT and torque converter models also.
To keep these models affordable for mass, manufacturer have introduced automatic models in middle variant rather than top end variant, which is key for the growth. Toyota recently introduced Yaris and they offer CVT transmission from base variant and more than 65 percent of bookings are for automatic models.
Honda introduced second generation of Amaze with CVT option in diesel and petrol engine, which is priced competitively against competitors and 30 percent of bookings are for CVT transmission. Another reason for the success of automatic cars is the congestion in our roads as lack of clutch reduces pressure of driving.
The cars above 12 lakh all offer automatic models and 50 percent of buyers opt for it while in sub 12 lakh market, automatic models account for 12-14 percent. It will increase in coming years with the launch of more affordable automatic models. In SUV segment, people still prefer manual models but analyst expect this to change in coming years.
Majority of model sold by Maruti Suzuki are in volume segment, which is why automated cars sales accounted for just 8.5 percent but for Hyundai and Honda it is about 18-20 percent as they have more premium models. Toyota’s bread and butter models are all offered with automatic options which is why 30 percent of cars sold are automatic models.
Mahindra and Tata have very few cars with automatic options, but the share of automatic models is 10-15 percent which is good and they are also working on more automated models. By the end of 2019, the automatic car sales volume is expected to touch half a million units from current 3.5-3.7 lakh units. The increase in popularity of automatic cars among customers will enable more new launches with two-pedal technology.