Magneti Marelli CEO Pietro Gorlier explains the future of ‘AMT’ and the auto sector in general

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Published: March 27, 2017 4:17:19 AM

?AMT is a great solution for automation of the gearbox, particularly for the Indian market, where price plays a very important role in buying decisions.?

One of the biggest recent developments in the Indian automotive market is AMT. Short for automated manual transmission, AMT costs almost half as much as a fully-automatic gearbox and provides an almost similar driving experience. The result is cars cost lesser and find more buyers. Magneti Marelli, the Italian company, is the leading global player in AMT technology. In India, it is a major supplier to Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors, among others. Pietro Gorlier, the CEO of Magneti Marelli, shares the future of AMT and the automotive sector in general, in an interview with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary. Excerpts:

Cars equipped with AMT are becoming popular by the day. What is the future of this gearbox in India?

AMT is a great solution for automation of the gearbox, particularly for the Indian market, where price plays a very important role in buying decisions. The development of AMT is a continuous process. We now have a prototype, which is the hybridisation of the gearbox; we are in the process of formulating an efficient way to provide an automated transmission for Bharat Stage VI norms.

Apart from Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors, with which all companies are you working in India?

We have a joint venture with Hero MotoCorp. We are in discussion with other car makers as well, in order to increase our footprint in the market. When we entered India, the automatic gearbox penetration was only 2%, but now it is growing quickly because of AMT.

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How many AMT units do you currently supply in India?

This year we expect to touch 2 lakh units of AMT.

A few years hence, electrification of vehicles could happen quickly. Today’s power train could suddenly become obsolete. What is your outlook?

Rather than pure electrification, India will see a bigger movement towards highly-developed hybridisation, because for full electrification, a lot has to be done in terms of infrastructure improvement. At the same time, we believe the price of electric vehicles will remain relatively high for the next 5-10 years, hence we don’t see an immediate conversion towards electrification of power train.

In terms of fuel, there are some reports globally that diesel engines could peak around 2025…

This is a fair assessment. Bigger displacement diesel engines will struggle in the future to meet emission standards. However, there is still a huge demand and a big market for diesel in India. Hence, an adjustment would be done when needed.

What kind of R&D do you do in India?

India is a strong asset for us. We have 86 production plants globally, of which 12 are in India. Therefore, Indian facilities contribute a lot to our revenues. We have 500 engineers in the two R&D facilities in India. Electronic software development is an important part of our development KRA in India, but we have facilities for almost every requirement of the business. The labour force is very efficient and qualified here.

How big is your aftermarket business?

Our presence in the aftermarket business in India is currently not significant. Aftermarket business is a proposition that highly depends on the OEM we work with. We have a presence in the other markets where we have established a stronghold.

Globally, in which direction is the automotive world moving?

There are three major trends in the automotive sector. First is progressive electrification. Second is connectivity of cars. Third is autonomous driving. Today, we are in the early stages of each trend. In case of connectivity, there are two types of drivers. One is the usual experience: customers want to be connected and they need services inside the car. We have seen a lot of development in this area. The other is complicated: cars have to get connected to each other and also to the infrastructure; here we have a long way to go.

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