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Tatas shift to automatic gear

Strategic move

New Delhi, Feb. 27: Tata Motors might soon come out with automatic variants of its upcoming hatchback Bolt and compact sedan Zest at an affordable price, company sources said.

The auto major recently showcased the two cars — Zest and Bolt — which will be powered by the company’s brand new Revotron engine. Tata Motors said the Revotron was more efficient and powerful compared with the engines in the Vista and Manza.

In a bid to push domestic sales, the company is planning to bring in automatic variants of various models, some of which were showcased at the recent auto expo in Delhi.

The Tatas have been losing ground to other players such as Ford and newcomers Renault and Nissan.

According to Tata officials, the company will be coming out with a number of small cars, mid-segment sedans and possibly a sub-four metre sports utility vehicle.

“Clearly the compact sedan and the hatch present the biggest opportunity from a market standpoint,” said Ankush Arora, senior vice-president and head of the commercial-passenger vehicle business unit, Tata Motors.

After a major slump in 2013, car makers are banking on new technologies and trends to increase sales.

Car makers believe incorporating automatic transmission in small and mid-segment hatchbacks and making them affordable will help them to regain lost market share. Maruti Suzuki recently launched an automatic variant of mid-segment small car Celerio, priced competitively at Rs 4.29 lakh for the entry-level model.

According to Maruti officials, the automatic Celerio gives a mileage of of 23.1 kilometre per litre.

“Given the congestion on Indian roads, the demand for auto mode is no brainer. At present, cars with automatic transmission are less than 5 per cent,” Maruti managing director and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa had said. Celerio has four models with manual transmission and two auto gear shift variants.

 
 
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