Tata AutoComp to invest Rs 500 crore in dual-clutch transmission plant in Chakan
With an aim to cater to the growing demand for automatic transmission-equipped cars in India, Tata AutoComp eyes first-mover advantage as it readies new plant with initial production capacity of 100,000 units.
The movers and shakers in any business are those who spot an emerging trend or a ‘white space’ in an existing market and make their move ahead of their rivals to gain the first-mover advantage. Driving in traffic-choked urban India is a tiring affair for most people, given the need to need to frequently change gears and engage in clutch movements. Reason why demand for cars equipped with automatic or semi-automatic transmissions is rising and it helps that these driver-friendly cars are fuel efficient too.
Tata AutoComp, whose capabilities span the entire automotive value chain from manufacturing to engine and the supply chain itself, has locked in on this new business opportunity. It will be setting up a dedicated unit for manufacturing compact dual clutch transmissions (DCTs) in Chakan, Maharashtra, which will be operational in the next six months (Q1 FY2024), a senior company executive told Autocar Professional.
To be set up with an investment of over Rs 500 crore, the greenfield facility will have an initial production output of 100,000 units with potential for future scaling up.
“At present, no company is manufacturing DCT in full swing in India. Within the next six months, we will be the first company in this space. We are in active talks with a lot of OEMs, starting with Tata Motors, for its supply,” Arvind Goel MD and CEO of Tata AutoComp, told Autocar Professional.
For those not familiar with the technology, DCT is a type of vehicle transmission that involves a pair of clutches, operated automatically, to synchronise gear changes without interrupting the torque. The automatic transmission usually comes at a premium of over 10-15% over conventional manual transmission variants. The higher price premium is usually due to low volumes and largely imported transmissions – be it the DCT, AT or CVT technologies.
From a share of 2% at the end of 2011, the penetration of automatic transmissions has shot up to over 20-22% of the passenger vehicle market in India and has been single-handedly driven by the market leader, Maruti Suzuki which introduced an affordable automated manual transmission or AMT.
However, in recent years, with affordability moving up, demand for even the more expensive automatic transmissions like the DSG, AT and CVT has gone up, especially in the higher-priced crossovers and SUVs.
The localisation of advanced transmission systems like the DCT will ensure the price premium for DCTs narrowing and further accelerate the shift from manual to automatic, say experts.
Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) has seen a five-fold growth in the sales of its automatic transmission variants in the span of a decade – these models currently account for over 18% of its total sales and have cumulatively sold 774,000 units thus far.
L-R: Arvind Goel ,MD and CEO of Tata AutoComp and Jorge Solis, CEO, Punch Powertrain, at the signing of the MoU on September 22, 2022 to form a 50:50 JV.
Packing a Punch and more
In September last year, Tata AutoComp signed its 10th joint venture with Belgium-headquartered powertrain systems supplier Punch Powertrain to design, manufacture, market, and sell the compact dual clutch transmission design (DT1) in India and to global markets at an affordable cost.
Under this 50:50 JV, the plan is to carry out a wide range of activities to supply Punch Powertrain’s conventional-hybrid DCTs, continuously variable transmissions (CVT) and EV reducers to customers in India.
“This new joint venture will help bring the latest powertrain technologies, manufactured locally, to our customers. We are proud of this association with Punch Powertrain, which is committed to serve the Indian market with its wide portfolio of powertrain technologies,” Goel said earlier.
Punch Powertrain, which also claims to be the original creator of today's CVT concept, is an independent full system supplier of fuel-efficient powertrains and propulsion systems with a global reach. According to a joint statement, the creation of an India-based joint venture will enable Tata AutoComp’s expertise to be leveraged to fully localise production and offer 'Made-in-India' powertrain solutions to Indian OEMs at affordable costs.
In March 2022, Punch Powertrain introduced its patented compact and lightweight DT1 DCT with the launch of Tata Altroz DCA. According to the company, its DT1 is intended for cars with a torque of up to 225 Nm and engine power of up to 110 kW. It also claims that DT1 contains 35% fewer shifting components than comparable dual clutch transmissions, which ultimately results in a lighter, more compact powertrain, while offering a considerable cost reduction.
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