Automatic manual transmission is the new buzz in the car market
Suddenly, the otherwise sleepy new car market in India is abuzz with discussions on the range of small cars which are already out with automatic transmission or promise to provide automatic transmission. Primarily, as on date, that means the Maruti Celerio, which sports a Magnetti Marelli AMT (automatic manual transmission), and a wide choice of cars from other stables that have promised the customer that they are almost ready too.
AMT has ‘automated’ the functions of a gear-shift and clutch and ensures that you use the hand-brake when you have to park. Gear selection is taken out of your left hand and left foot and transferred to your fingers, with some very minimal control still left for those high-revving moments that you may need every now and then.
All in all, it makes for a relaxed style of driving; but there is still no clarity on the issue of maintenance as well as how it will actually perform. To be fair, friends in the industry tell me that this has been tried and tested all over the country under real driving conditions. Have they included the typical overloaded conditions which require more clutch and gear play than city driving?
If your driving style is simple and non-aggressive, then this is certainly the best option with non-manual transmissions going on our roads in any segment. The old-style automatic transmission causes heavy torque loss and higher fuel consumption. The continuous variable transmission is complicated and makes a mess of the restricted engine area; and the double-clutch system is better suited for bigger cars because it also costs a lot.
Expect to see automobile garages attempting to re-set the AMT soon, to try and achieve better performance or more economy, as per the customer's desire. The other benefit I expect from this is that it will not be so easy any more for valets and others to damage the car by revving it up excessively—I hope. There is always the option of paddle-shifters or moving the drive position shifter around in such a way that the engine can be made to over-rev and then be slammed into a low gear.
Crash Test: Get Real
What’s the reality on the latest NCAP (new car assessment programme) results for Indian cars which have caused so much stress and confusion with their convoluted results on entry-level models of many cars sold in India? Well, without going into the specifics of their methodology, the makes and models tested, and the results, here is my view.
Indian road and driving conditions are certainly different. At this juncture, the idea is to improve the mobility of people at as low a cost as possible, with reasonable safety and efficiency. Loading a car with electronic gadgets on par with the rest of the world will, at this juncture, not really fit into that set of parameters. Though, personally, I do wish people would spend more on safety equipment than on stereos.
More important, this test also brings out the simple truth and reality that almost NONE of the cars tested, brand for brand, would match the same car as sold in European markets—which is where the real problem lies. We ASSUME that foreign brand cars sold to us in India are the same as those that sell abroad.
Remember, that’s why the Morris Oxford was renamed the Hindustan Ambassador and the Fiat 1100 was renamed the Premier President. And similar names for other vehicles—Tata Mercedes-Benz, Ashok Leyland, Standard Herald, to name just a few. Time we did the same, again, instead of fooling ourselves.
Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves
National Consumer Commission delivers a big blow for consumers
Railways are the lifeline...
A PIL filed by Pravasi Bhalai Sanghatan alleged that there was a need for guidelines as hate speeches destroy the fabric of democracy and violate the provisions of the Constitution
The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Law Commission to look into the issue of hate speeches being made by leaders of political, social and religious outfits and consider framing guidelines to regulate such provocative statements.
While refusing to frame guidelines itself, a bench headed by Justice BS Chauhan, asked the commission to look into it and give its recommendation to the union government.
The court passed the order on a public interest litigation (PIL) by Pravasi Bhalai Sanghatan alleging that there was a need for guidelines as hate speeches destroy the fabric of democracy and violate the provisions of the Constitution.
The PIL had named Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as respondents as the two states witnessed incidents of alleged hate speeches.
It had referred to the alleged hate speeches made by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray and claimed that no FIR was registered against them in the state.
The PIL had said that in Andhra Pradesh, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Akbaruddin Owaisi had allegedly made hate speeches and was arrested for them. But after being released on bail, he had again made similar speeches in Nanded, Maharashtra, it alleged.