• Suzuki bags top JSPMI Chairman’s Prize for AMT gearbox
  • Gearbox lauded for refined character and intelligent design
  • Available in South Africa on the Suzuki Celerio

Suzuki Auto has cracked the code on making a fun, driveable and efficient automated manual transmission, says the Japan Society for the Promotion of the Machine Industry (JSPMI).

The JSPMI this month gave Suzuki, Japan’s third largest vehicle manufacturer, its Chairman’s Award for advancing Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) technology, citing its work as a breakthrough in the driveability and user-friendliness of the technology.

Every year, the JSPMI recognises cutting-edge technological advancements from Japanese corporations, universities and research institutions. Past winners include the creators of rotary engines and the inventors of a new paint technology that allows for the application of three layers simultaneously. This year represents the 13th running of the JSPMI Awards.

Suzuki’s redesign of AMT technology is called AGS, or Auto Gear Shift, and it uses a proprietary electro-hydraulic actuator to automatically operate the mechanical clutch and allow the automated up and down-shifting of the 5-speed gearbox. From inside the cabin, the driver can choose a fully automatic mode or a sequential self-shifting option, which will keep the selected gear and only downshift automatically if the AGS sensors detect too little power in the chosen gear.

As part of its redesign, Suzuki also included “creep” and “parking” algorithms into the actuator control unit. With this programming, the AGS gearbox will detect bumper-to-bumper traffic or ultra-slow parking manoeuvres and adjust engine speed and power delivery accordingly. In doing so, the gearbox avoids the “shuddering shifts” previously associated with automated manual transmissions.

Suzuki’s Auto Gear Shift system includes a downshift-sensor on the accelerator pedal to detect driver intent and allow for fast shifting, for instance when passing a slower vehicle. The system is also more attuned to throttle modulation to again sense driver intention and shift to a higher gear at the most appropriate driving moment.

In contrast to a fully automatic gearbox, the AGS system uses the same basic componentry as a manual gearbox, but without a driver-operated clutch. By sharing components, Suzuki keeps the cost of this auto-shifting option low and within the reach of more drivers, while also ensuring that repairs and maintenance remain cost effective.

In South Africa, buyers can experience this award-winning gearbox in the Celerio 1.0 GL AMT, which offers city-friendly automated gear shifting for only R145 700.

“Receiving the JSPMI Chairman’s Award is a welcome recognition of our hard work in bringing automatic gearboxes within reach of our entry-level customers,” says André Venter, divisional manager for sales and marketing at Suzuki Auto South Africa. “Apart from the obvious price and maintenance benefit, the Suzuki Auto Gear Shift is also the most fuel efficient gearbox in our Celerio range, which supports our drive for affordable motoring.”

The Chairman’s Award adds to the Celerio’s already impressive résumé. Suzuki Auto’s entry-level model brings Japanese quality within reach of more South Africans with an entry-level price of R123 000, which includes two airbags, air conditioning, power steering and ABS brakes.

The range-topping Celerio 1.0 GL AMT not only offers Suzuki’s advanced AGS gearbox, but is also equipped with an audio system with Bluetooth and a USB port, keyless entry, a multi-function steering wheel and a two-year / 30 000 km service plan.

With the Auto Gear Shift technology, the Celerio 1.0 GL AMT boasts the lowest fuel consumption in the range of only 4.6 litres / 100 km, thanks in part to the fact that there is no power loss from the torque converter found on a normal automatic gearbox.


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