Maruti Suzuki sells over 1 lakh AGS units

Maruti Suzuki sells over 1 lakh AGS units

Maruti Suzuki sells over 1 lakh AGS units
Driving a car is no easy cake walk. With the traffic density aumenting in India, it has become even more difficult. However, the country’s largest carmaker which has introduced the new technology auto gear shift (AGS) has crossed the 1 lakh-mark. In an interaction with Deccan Herald’s Hrithik Kiran Bagade and Umesh M Avvannavar, the Maruti Suzuki India Executive Director (Engineering) C V Raman explains the journey of AGS in India. Excerpts”

Maruti Suzuki, once known for manufacturing affordable small cars, has integrated new-age technologies like the auto gear shift, of the automated manual transmission in small cars, making them snazzy and peppy to drive. What has been the psychology in the company in terms of integrating such new technologies, yet maintaining the affordability of products?

There was latent need for two pedal technologies in India. But traditional technologies, such as AT, were exorbitant and offered lower fuel efficiency as compared to MT. So their penetration was poor. Auto Gear Shift Technology has three distinct attributes, a) its affordable (costs Rs 40,000 more than the manual trim) b) offers fuel efficiency at par with MT) c) offers ease of driving.

At Maruti, our effort was to democratise such technologies so that more people are able to benefit. Our models Alto K-10, Celerio WagonR and Diesel variant of Dzire are now equipped with AGS.
Maruti Suzuki was the first company to introduce Auto Gear Shift Technology in India. How has the journey been so far?

We introduced AGS in India with Celerio in 2014 and today over 60% of the celerio sold are AGS equipped. This suggests customer confidence in the technology and reposes faith in the three attributes…. Affordability, convenience in city driving and fuel efficiency at par with MT. Also the customer especially in markets like Kerala, Bengaluru etc. who has global experience of driving automatic cars prefers buying an AGS car. With the successful response in Celerio we further introduced the AGS technology in Alto, WagonR and Dzire. The acceptability in all these models is as per our expectation.
India is essentially, traditionally a market for manual cars. Automatic cars have been scoffed upon as not being meant for ‘men’, and often seen as fuel guzzlers. Explain the relevance of automatic cars in Indian market today. What are the market trends in this regard? How have customers taken to this technology?

Yes, India is essentially a manual car market however the trend is changing rapidly. Also there was a latent need for a technology that was affordable, fuel efficient and offers easy driving. AGS meets all three parameters. With AGS, we are able to break the traditional myths and able to democratize two pedal technology. In FY 15-16 we sold over 54000 units of AGS equipped vehicles Vs 30,000 units FY 14-15.

There are several players in the affordable space that offer automatic cars in India today. How do you view competition in this realm?

We can’t comment on competition but our endeavor is to offer two pedal technologies across segments. We have AGS in Alto K-10, Wagon R, Celerio & DZire diesel, Baleno is powered by CVT, Ertiga, Ciaz and Dzire have AT.

What is the future of automatic cars in India? What are you plans in the future?

With the kind of acceptability we have currently for AGS in market , we see this technology getting more popular in future. We are committed to offer more two pedal technology options across our products.

What is AGS Technology?

Auto Gear Shift also known as Automated Manual Transmi­ssion is a automobile transmission technology. The clutch-less or two­-pedal technology makes driving comfortable in the city traffic conditions. Customers are free from changing gears and can enjoy the convenien­ce of automatic driving at an affordable cost without compromising on the fuel efficiency.