Maruti Suzuki might have a crack at six-speed transmission once again this year. Deviating from its budget-friendly family car image, the Indian car market leader is reportedly planning to launch cars with six-speed gearbox to make them more driver-centric.
Maruti Suzuki is planning to take up the new Swift as the first car to get a six-speed transmission under this project, Moneycontrol reported . The third generation Maruti Suzuki Swift was launched in India last month at the Auto Expo 2018.
"Maruti is looking to shore up the use of six-speed transmissions in a gradual way. Starting with 50,000 units in the first year the demand is projected to go to 400,000 units per year by 2020," the report quoted an industry source.
A six-speed transmission enhances the fuel efficiency of the vehicle with its better spaced gears, one of the desirable attributes of Maruti Suzuki cars even now. An extra gear helps the car run at high speeds at lower RPMs. The cabin noise is also reduced with six-speed gearbox, as compared to a five-speed one.
As of now, the entire Maruti Suzuki portfolio uses five-speed gearbox, even company's flagship sedan in India, Ciaz. The auto giant had employed a six-speed gearbox for the first time in its first generation S-Cross, a premium hatchback crossover that met with limited success. The last generation was phased out, along with the 1.6-litre engine and the six-speed gearbox. The existing generation of S-Cross runs a 1.3-litre diesel engine coupled with a five-speed gearbox.
Maruti Suzuki needed to move to six-speed transmissions since the competition already has the feature. Hyundai, the second place holder in the Indian car market, is using six-speed transmissions in Elite i20, Verna, Elantra, Creta and Tucson. Tata Motors had launched Nexon, a compact SUV competing against Maruti Suzuki Brezza, with six-speed manual gearbox, and a six-speed automatic variant in the cards.
Premium SUVs from Mahindra & Mahindra, like XUV500 and Scorpio, and Tata Motors' Safari and Hexa, also have six-speed transmission. Renault sells three cars with six-speed gearboxes, namely - Duster, Captur and Lodgy.