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GM, Ford To Build Nine-, Ten-Speed Automatics Together

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2013 Ford Flex

2013 Ford Flex

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General Motors and Ford will partner to build a new generation of automatic transmissions--nine-speed and ten-speed automatics that the companies will use to boost fuel economy across their lineups.

The U.S. automatic have worked together in the past to engineer automatic transmissions, to reduce the engineering and development costs. The six-speed automatic installed in many large GM and Ford crossovers--the Ford Flex, the GMC Acadia, and the Chevy Traverse among them--is a result of the companies' more recent joint efforts. So far, the companies have built more than 8 million gearboxes from that project.

The new transmissions will be used across both companies' lineups, in both front-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive applications.

Ford and GM won't be the first to develop nine-speed automatic transmissions. Chrysler has one on the way in the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, while Land Rover announced recently that it's working on a nine-speed transmission with ZF. Ten-speed automatics would be a new development.

The transmissions are expected to hit the road within the next three years, with differences in programming to give each automaker its own approach to shift quality and economy.

Both GM and Ford rely heavily today on six-speed automatics, while some competitors like Lexus and Chrysler have moved quickly to eight-speed automatics, in the hunt for better fuel economy in their larger vehicles.


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Comments (3)
  1. These 9 and 10 speeds had better be better than the 7 and 8 speeds I've driven. These transmissions are constantly and annoyingly "hunting" for the correct speed. A good CVT like Nissan's is a much better choice because it has "infinite" number of speeds and does not "hunt".

  2. I have an 8 speed in my 2012 Hyundai Genesis and couldn't be happier. I know all about existing 6 speeds that have trouble finding the rightb gear and a slight increase in speed and they shift down too soon.

  3. I hope GM/Ford have better success this time on a joint venture to engineer a transmission. That last 6 speed initially had a lot of shifting issues and required a lot of reprogramming. I'm aware of a owner that came up with his own solution after a couple years.....a Toyota Highlander. Then he was pleased.

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