GM and Ford Team Up on New Nine- and 10-Speed Transmissions

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In terms of the auto industry, Detroit is not exactly a big town — discussions between automakers happen more often than people realize, given that everyone working at these companies lives as neighbors. But General Motors and Ford Motor Co. have just announced a formal collaboration of their own, a new program to jointly develop nine- and 10-speed automatic transmissions.

The transmissions will be used in future cars, trucks and SUVs at both companies. The nine-speed automatic will be a front-wheel-drive transmission, while the 10-speed is destined for rear-drive applications. One company will develop the nine-speed and the other will develop the 10-speed, but neither company is saying which is taking on which.

If this seems like more gears than you'll ever need, it's not. Automakers are bringing multispeed transmissions to market in order to make big fuel economy gains without having to sacrifice power. Continuously variable transmissions have proven to be largely unpopular, with consumers missing that "gear change" that accompanies acceleration in most cars, leading to the development of gearboxes like these. The lead American automaker for this technology is actually Chrysler, which has just started equipping its rear-wheel-drive cars and trucks with eight-speed automatic transmissions, and is readying its own nine-speed front-drive automatic for use in the next year or two.

This is not the first time Ford and GM have collaborated on such equipment; they’ve been developing two common six-speed transmissions since 2002. There is no word on when the new nine- and 10-speed gearboxes will be out, but Ford has said that development work is already well underway.

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By Aaron Bragman | April 15, 2013 | Comments (12)

Comments 

J

"The lead American automaker for this technology is actually Chrysler, which has just started equipping its rear-wheel-drive cars and trucks with eight-speed automatic transmissions, and is readying its own nine-speed front-drive automatic for use in the next year or two"

Not entirely accurate.
The 9 speed is made by ZF.
Yet, on the other hand, this new transmission is made by Ford and GM.

DeBinder Dundett

Seems to me it would have been cheaper to outsource supplying such a transmission from Lexus, Mercedes or any other manufacturer for an existing unit. ZF makes great units as well.

Similar ventures have been done before, like when Honda supplied Saturn with V6 engines, or when VW supplied K-Cars with the 4-bangers, or when Yamaha supplied Taurus SHO with V6 high-performance engines.

Most of us never know where our transmissions are made or who made them. None of us care. We just want them to go when we want them to go.

The 8-speed in my wife's 2009 LS460 is infinitely better than the 8-speed in my daughter's 2014 Grand Cherokee, as an example.

And the 6-speed in my 2009 Tundra 5.7 is noticeably better and smoother than the 6-speed of ANY late-model F150, Silverado or RAM. Check it out for yourself!

My point here is, there are existing transmissions on the market that would cost less and perform just as well as any new ones developed by GM/Ford or Ford/GM, or whatever. All that needs to be changed is the housing. The guts can remain the same.

I'm surprised that they haven't put the flaky CVT in more vehicles instead of developing this expensive 9- or 10-speed stepped transmission.

Then again, MOST who have ever driven a CVT found that they suck and are akin to driving a car powered by a rubber band.

I guess the OEMs don't like the CVT either, else they would not develop this expensive and complicated transmission.

sheth

If what you were saying was true no automaker would ever develop and in house transmission. When you are going to need a hundreds of thousands of units a year its probably not cheaper to totally outsource the design and production of the transmission. Most of the automakers that use ZF do not have the in house capability to develop and produce an 8 speed transmission so they are at the mercy of ZF. Toyota, MB, Ford and GM typically have control over most of their transmissions and outsource only when needed. I'm not sure if Toyota outsources at all honestly.

J

Ties between Toyota and Aisin...

Ike G.

Having owned transmissions made by Ford and transmissions made by GM in my cars and trucks of the past, I think this joint venture will only result in mediocrity squared.

I've had six incidents with the transmission in my 2009 F350 Diesel and I will trade that pig before the warranty runs out on it.

This combined effort may save GM and Ford some money but ultimately the buyers will suffer the financial repercussions of compromise-engineering.

Just give me the appliance-like reliability of a Toyota or Honda product, with none of the drama of the US auto manufacturers.

Life is too damn short and money is too damn hard to come by to waste it on planned obsolescence.

That's why the foreign brands do so well in America. They're reliable, last a long time, and keep their value.

sheth

IKe:

In case you didn't know, GM and Ford worked together on a FWD transmission so I'm pretty sure your F350 had an outsourced transmission. I don't even know if Ford makes it's own RWD transmission.

sheth

ike:

Your post has nothing to do with my comments. The Ford/Gm transmission is a FWD 6 speed transmission. I'm not sure if ford even engineers its own RWD 6 speed transmissions. You claimed the GM/Ford transmission will be a bad idea because you've had issues with an unrelated RWD transmission.

Ike G.

sheth,

Having owned transmissions made by Ford and transmissions made by GM in my cars and trucks of the past, I think this joint venture will only result in mediocrity squared.

This combined effort may save GM and Ford some money but ultimately the buyers will suffer the financial repercussions of compromise-engineering.

sheth

got it Ike, sounds like a well thought out and substantive position. Thanks for all the data to back up your claims. Considering that Ford and GM both offer 5 year powertrain warranties on their vehicles I don't think it's in their best interest to produce crappy transmissions that will end up being replaced on their dime.

Skankzilla

"I'm not sure if Toyota outsources at all honestly."

"I don't even know if Ford makes it's own RWD transmission. "

..and how does that sound well thought out and substantiated?

Ike G. commented on his experience, if he is frustrated then he clearly can award his opinion. Some will listen, others will not.

I don't really see how that gives you the benefit of telling him he is wrong, multiple times, when you "don't even know" about half the things you're defending.

--

My OPINION is, there will be a point where these multiple geared transmissions will not benefit in terms of efficiency. More and more gears doesn't automatically mean it's better.

This sounds great, really spreading the word on animal cruelty in a creative way here!

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