As the 8-speed auto gearboxes that were meant only for premium car models are starting to be used in more affordable cars, it is clear that the premium models need an upgrade. The New York Times reports that General Motors and Ford are soon to announce their agreement to jointly develop new automatic transmissions that are specifically design to reduce fuel consumption as early as November. Sources from GM and Ford say that they are already working on 8-, 9-, and 10-speed automatic gearboxes for use in their passenger cars and light trunks.
If these top competitors in the automotive industry follow through with their plan, their total size and supply base could give them “huge manufacturing and volume advantages over all the competition” said ND-Automotive analyst Skip Nydam. This is not the first time GM and Ford have worked together on transmission development. A decade ago, they shared the design and production of the new 6-speed auto for front-wheel drive cars resulting in the Ford 6F and GM 6T70 transmissions and the only difference in the two was their electronic controls.
Reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions using the transmission correlates with the number of gears it has. The higher number of gears in a transmission allows the engine to operate in its more fuel efficient rev range. Transmission specialist conclude that the 9HP gearbox reduces consumption up to 16% compared to a six-speed auto. Hyundai has already announced that their 2014 luxury models will have the option of having a 10-speed auto transmission and the ZF launched its own 9-speed auto gearbox last year.