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Business

Suzuki to broaden sales of easy automatic transmissions

TOKYO -- Suzuki Motor plans to offer its simple automatic transmission technology in more vehicles and more overseas markets, hoping to boost sales volume via increased cost competitiveness.

     The easy-to-use automatic transmission is made by attaching a mechanical device known as a shift actuator to a manual transmission. Unlike a conventional automatic transmission, the new version is not fully automatic and is sometimes called an automated manual transmission.

     Suzuki developed the technology under the name Auto Gear Shift. The company first used the transmission in the 1-liter Celerio it released in India in February. Less than 1% of vehicles sold in India have automatic transmissions, but nearly 50% of Celerio buyers select the Auto Gear Shift option. The automaker sees substantial untapped demand even in regions where automatic transmissions are not popular.

     The company plans to improve the shifting action and begin releasing vehicles with the technology in more places. In India, it will offer Auto Gear Shift on models besides the Celerio. It also aims to make the technology available in new vehicles for the European market in the second half of this fiscal year.

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