Every individual who has ever driven an automatic transmission (AT) car would vouch for the fact that are much easier to drive, as frequent gear shifting does not have to be done in chaotic traffic situations. But the automatic vehicles do consume 10-15 per cent more fuel than conventional vehicles with a manual gearbox and are also more expensive. For a country with primarily mileage and price conscious customers, it gets a little difficult to think about AT vehicles.
Despite the above mentioned factors, it is true that AT vehicles have existed for several decades in the world, though they came to India recently due to the expanding nature of the industry. Maruti Suzuki already offers AT in its A-Star, DZire, Ritz and SX4 models. Demand for this transmission has gone up in the A-Star and Ritz and in Hyundai vehicles that are priced more than the i10. A major reason for this is that there are many woman buyers at present in the country, who like the driving comfort provided by these automatic variants. Most people would like to keep the vehicle in a single mode (D) and drive using only the brake and accelerator, giving complete rest to the left foot. Persons who purchase automatic cars do not mind paying extra or getting less mileage to get more comfort.
Another problem with AT cars in India is that these have to be booked in advance and cannot be driven away from the showrooms. An advance amount (10-15 per cent of total cost) has to be paid and it takes about a month for the new model to arrive. This could be one of the factors that deter some buyers from purchase. Though demand for such vehicles is there, it is not high, due to which no inventory is kept in stock.
As a comparison if one looks at automatic scooters, these can be driven off without having to book in advance. Most customers would like the same situation to be created for cars with automatic transmission as well.