Tata Motors has been offering AMTs or automated manual transmissions in its budget cars for a while now. The Zest was the first compact sedan in India to be equipped with a diesel AMT, followed by the Nano with petrol AMT, making it the most affordable auto hatchback. And now, the Tiago hatchback and the Tigor compact sedan also come with petrol AMTs. Joining them is the Nexon AMT (in both petrol and diesel guise) that has been showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo and is expected to launch soon.
However, for their upcoming premium range of cars, Tata wants to offer Dual-Clutch Transmissions (DCTs) as they will be a lot more refined, efficient and smooth-shifting, compared to the current AMTs, and will go well with the overall positioning of these new offerings. Rajendra Petkar, head power systems engineering, Tata Motors, explains, “There appears to be a good potential as far as DCT is concerned. Full automatics have a drawback of low fuel economy and CVTs can work only in certain operating conditions.”
Like AMTs, DCTs too are manual ‘boxes but with one crucial difference – two clutches. The twin clutches rids AMTs of jerky shifts (just like a torque convertor) and maintains good efficiency, thus offering the best of both worlds. Therefore, Tata will look at DCT for its upcoming premium cars.
The company may look at an outside vendor to develop the gearbox, and costs could be shared with Jaguar Land Rover as well. However, it might even produce the transmission in-house and build it under a licensing deal. It will only do this however once the numbers are right. “Unless we reach economies of scale it doesn’t make sense,” says Petkar.
Going ahead, Tata will most likely continue using AMTs for its affordable cars. And by late 2019 or early 2020, the quicker, more refined and efficient DCT is expected to debut and make its way into the 45X premium hatchback and its platform derivatives, like a compact sedan, mid-size sedan, MPV and mid-size SUV.
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