Smooth shift to clutch-less cars on Goan roads 


The trend clearly is in favour of automatic transmission cars in future thanks to ease of driving and overall value for money in terms of maintenance, discovers Serilda Coutinho

Automatic transmission cars are gaining in popularity in Goa from the time they came on the scene. According to local dealers, the switch from manual to automatic transmission cars offered is boosting the sales of cars across the state. Dealers estimate a growth of about 20-25 percent in sales post the launch of the auto gear cars.

“Most of the locals who work abroad prefer to purchase an automatic car for daily commuting as once they get used to the automatic clutch free system they find it difficult to switch to the manual one” says Farah Khan, assistant sales manager, AM Nissan, Verna. The Nissan outlet in Verna offers a price range of automatic cars starting from Rs four lakh to Rs 14.6 lakh depending upon the segment and model the customer opts for. Khan revealed that, the CVT technology used in Nissan’s hatchback variants attracts a loyal customer base. “The trend of driving automatic cars is also at its peak in the state and has managed to attract beginners along with city drivers, locals working abroad, female drivers and the elderly,” she says.

Unlike manual transmission cars, automatic cars make use of a torque convertor that serves the same purpose as the clutch in a manual transmission system. They are available in technologies such automatic manual transmission (AMT) commonly used in the hatchback segment while the continuously variable transmission (CVT), automatic transmission (AT) and dual-clutch transmission are most common in the SUV segment. For i10 owner, Althea Faria residing in Margao, “The entry of AMT cars in the hatchback segment is a relief to budget car buyers.” Faria says that, it is convenient to use her auto-geared hatchback for city drives especially in the traffic.

The largest player in automatic cars, Maruti Suzuki has witnessed a drastic growth in sales post the introduction of Auto Gear Shift (AGS) technology in 2014.  Information from Chowgule Industries, a dealership of Maruti Suzuki with outlets across Goa, reveals that around 21 percent of the sales of cars are in the automatic segment.

“Initially when we launched fully automatic cars only those working abroad showed interest in buying them as they were used to the system and could afford it. But with the new technology in place even locals looking for a budget friendly automatic car can afford it now,” says Mariola Fernandes, assistant general manager, Chowgule Industries.

She further adds that the company sells around 220 automatic cars per month on an average. The price bracket for a Maruti automatic car starts from about Rs 4.36 lakh and can go upto Rs 10.49 lakh depending upon the segment and variant the customer chooses.

Goa Hyundai, Verna claims to have introduced automatic cars in the showroom around seven years back. Having registered sales of around 15 to 20 per cent in the automatic SUV category the dealership has observed an encouraging response in the state. “We account for about five per cent to 10 per cent sales for automatic cars in Goa” says Prashant Joshi, managing director, Goa Hyundai. He further adds that, automatic cars come with a lower maintenance cost as the driver saves on the cost incurred on replacing the clutch plate every five years. The price bracket for a Hyundai automatic car starts from about Rs 6.30 lakh and can go up to Rs 25 lakh depending upon the segment and variant the customer chooses.

Similar to the Goa Hyundai dealership, the Caculo Ford dealerships have also witnessed a growth in sales by about 25-30 per cent in the SUV automatic segment. “We offer automatic transmission cars ranging from Rs 11.5 lakh for a hatchback to Rs 39.80 Lakh for an SUV” says Mangesh Dalvi, vice president, Caculo Ford. He further adds that contribution of the dealership towards the sales of automatic cars in the state accounts for about five per cent.

Muktar automobiles, the sole dealership for Mahindra vehicles in state are expecting a boost in overall sales since the introduction of electric automatic cars in their range. “Mahindra electric cars are only available in automatic transmission. The advantage of driving an electric car over a petrol or diesel variant is that the vehicle produces instant torque that helps in easy pick up and the driver will not experience the lag or jerks while the motor shifts gears.” Ankeet Kantak, area sales manager, Mahindra electric mobility, Goa. The vehicle comes in a price range of Rs 4.5 lakh to about Rs16 lakh and claims to offer higher savings in the operation cost compared to the diesel and petrol variant.