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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Ford and General Motors Collaborate On Nine and Ten-Speed Transmissions


    By William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    April 15, 2013

    Back in October, we reported that Ford and General Motors signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop next-generation nine and ten-speed automatic transmissions. Today, both auto manufacturers have gone on the record and confirmed this joint operation.

    The two automakers aren't saying which specific vehicles will get the nine and ten-speed transmissions, but did say the transmissions are designed for front- and rear-wheel-drive cars, crossovers, trucks and SUVs.

    "Engineering teams from GM and Ford have already started initial design work on these new transmissions," said Jim Lanzon, GM vice president of global transmission engineering in a press release today.

    This joint operation marks the third time the automakers have worked together. Previous efforts have included building six-speed automatics found in the Ford Fusion, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Malibu and few others.

    "The goal is to keep hardware identical in the Ford and GM transmissions. This will maximize parts commonality and give both companies economy of scale. However, we will each use our own control software to ensure that each transmission is carefully matched to the individual brand-specific vehicle DNA for each company," said Craig Renneker, Ford's chief engineer for transmission and driveline component and pre-program engineering.

    Source: Ford, GM

    Press Release is on Page 2


    Ford and GM to Jointly Develop Advanced Nine- and 10-Speed Automatic Transmissions

    - New project to build on success of previous collaborations

    - Initial design and engineering work is already under way

    - New transmissions will improve fuel economy and enhance performance

    DEARBORN, Mich., April 15, 2013 – Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation have signed an agreement under which both companies will jointly develop an all-new generation of advanced-technology nine- and 10-speed automatic transmissions for cars, crossovers, SUVs and trucks.

    The new transmissions, to be built in both front- and rear-wheel-drive variants, will improve vehicle performance and increase fuel economy.

    The collaboration enables both automakers to design, develop, engineer, test, validate and deliver these new transmissions for their vehicles faster and at lower cost than if each company worked independently.

    "Engineering teams from GM and Ford have already started initial design work on these new transmissions," said Jim Lanzon, GM vice president of global transmission engineering. "We expect these new transmissions to raise the standard of technology, performance and quality for our customers while helping drive fuel economy improvements into both companies' future product portfolios."

    A track record of success

    This new agreement marks the third time in the past decade that GM and Ford have collaborated on transmissions. These collaborative efforts have enabled both companies together to deliver more than 8 million durable, high-quality six-speed front-wheel-drive transmissions to customers around the globe.

    Ford installs these six-speed transmissions in some of America's favorite vehicles, such as the Ford Fusion family sedan, the Ford Edge crossover and Ford Escape and Explorer SUVs, while GM installs them into a variety of high-volume, award-winning products such as the Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Traverse, Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Cruze.

    That original collaboration served as a template for the new one. As before, each company will manufacture its own transmissions in its own plants with many common components.

    "The goal is to keep hardware identical in the Ford and GM transmissions. This will maximize parts commonality and give both companies economy of scale," said Craig Renneker, Ford's chief engineer for transmission and driveline component and pre-program engineering. "However, we will each use our own control software to ensure that each transmission is carefully matched to the individual brand-specific vehicle DNA for each company."

    "With the jointly developed six-speed automatics we have in production today, we've already proven that Ford and GM transmission engineers work extremely well together," said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of powertrain engineering. "Our front-wheel-drive transmissions have exceeded expectations and there is every reason to believe we will have the same success with these all-new transmissions."

    "This agreement provides tremendous benefits for both companies, and it will pay big dividends for our customers and shareholders," added Lanzon. "By jointly sharing the development of these two new families of transmissions, both GM and Ford will be able to more efficiently use our respective manpower resources to develop additional future advanced transmissions and bring them to market faster than if we worked alone."

    Further technical details and vehicle applications for these transmissions will be released by each company at the appropriate time before launch.


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    That is what is coming, it used to be V8 with a 4-speed automatic, now it will be 4-cylinder with a 8 speed automatic, and in time, 3 cylinder with a 10 speed automatic. The Mercedes 9-speed transmission should be on sale in 2014, the rest will follow.

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    Looking at the picture, I assume that fluid fill tank with the cap will have an extension tub and measure stick to tell if you need to top it off. If not service will be a pain for those of us that like to do it yourself. Crawl underneath to measure the tranny fluid will be a pain in the ass.

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    I have said this many times before, but what's really needed is additional ratio spread and not necessarily more than 7 gears. By about 7-speeds there is more than enough gears to keep the rpm at or around the torque peak after a shift even if you increase the ratio spread by about ~20%. The idea is to increase the spread so the 1st is lower (for better acceleration) and the top gear is taller (for better economy). This is even in the case of smaller displacement engines, especially given the trend towards forced induction which flattens the torque curve.

    In other words, what's more beneficial -- to performance and/or economy -- is an "extra wide ratio" transmission that has a 7~7.5 ratio spread (vs ~6.0 for 6-speed boxes. This does not necessarily have to be a 9 or 10 speed box, for most applications it doesn't even need to be 8 speeds.

    The Aisin TL80 (used in the new CTS as well as various Lexus products) is disappointing in this regard with a ratio spread of a mere 6.71 even though it has 8 gears. On the other hand the Mercedes 7G-tronic used in the S-Class is exemplary with a spread of 8.86 with just 7-speeds.

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    Do cars really need 9 or 10 speed transmissions? Or does that sound better to justify higher prices for when they need replacement? Color me skeptical on these. Now on a tractor-trailer with 18 speeds, that works just on torque alone. But a 9/10 speed on a car, really? Pass.

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