Soon after the launch of the Celerio AMT, the carmaker has discreetly withdrawn the Ritz automatic and some dealers are citing ‘no stocks’ for the Dzire automatic too.
This move could be part of Maruti’s larger strategy to phase out conventional torque convertor automatics (that are expensive to produce) and replace them with AMTs. In a recent interview with S Maitra, COO, supply chain, Maruti Suzuki India, he revealed the company’s plans to leverage the AMT ‘box to other Maruti models too.
Since the components that make the AMT unit is provided mostly by overseas suppliers, the Celerio AMT hasn’t been able to cope with demand and currently faces an average waiting period of six months.
"We have a plan that over the next one year, we will bring AMT manufacturing here in India. Right now, it is being supplied by one supplier – MagnetiMarelli – to us from Italy. MagnetiMarelli already has a setup in India where it is producing some other components. The company has already drawn up a plan to come to India with its AMT production line within the next one year," said Maitra. He further confirmed that after localising the production of AMT units, AMT 'boxes will find their way in many Maruti models.
The company’s decision to slowly phase out its automatic variants points to the carmaker’s intention to replace its current torque convertors with AMT 'boxes, aiding Maruti to present competitively priced automatics across its portfolio. Maruti may focus on gradually clearing stocks of its current crop of automatics till AMT units are locally produced and this will also help the company buy time to streamline its supply chain. Also, once the AMT units are heavily localised, we can expect the price gap between AMTs and manual variants to shrink further.