Make us your home page
Instagram

GM, Ford team up on transmissions for fuel efficiency

A Cadillac ATS, on the line for the 2013 model year in July at the General Motors Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant in Lansing, Mich., may one day get improved gas mileage thanks to a cooperative transmission project between GM and Ford.

Getty Images (2012)

A Cadillac ATS, on the line for the 2013 model year in July at the General Motors Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant in Lansing, Mich., may one day get improved gas mileage thanks to a cooperative transmission project between GM and Ford.

DETROIT — Rivals General Motors and Ford have agreed to cooperate on multispeed transmissions that boost fuel efficiency.

The goal is to engineer the next generation of this expensive technology, on which Chrysler beat them to the market.

GM and Ford have done some preliminary work covertly, but now they are willing to take it public.

"Engineering teams from GM and Ford have already started initial design work on these new transmissions," said Jim Lanzon, GM's head of global transmission engineering.

They expect to develop nine-speed transmissions for front-wheel-drive cars and crossovers and 10-speed transmissions for rear-drive trucks. The work will yield millions of transmissions for vehicles around the world.

"Scale is critical in the transmission world," said Michael Robinet, managing director of IHS Automotive Consulting.

Transmissions are elaborate, expensive and necessary, but sharing the basic design does not hurt the DNA of any given brand, GM spokesman Dan Flores said.

Each automaker will take the shared technology and further tune each transmission for the size and type of vehicle that will use it, Ford spokesman Mark Schirmer said. "You can't remove a transmission from a GM and put it into a Ford."

Production will be done in each company's plants, using common parts to further reduce cost.

"The goal is to keep hardware identical in the Ford and GM transmissions," said Craig Renneker, Ford's chief transmission engineer. "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."

It could be three years before the first vehicles with the transmissions are on the market.

They are expected to improve fuel efficiency by 5 percent from the powertrains they replace. Automakers are working to meet new regulations in 2016 that require their new vehicle fleets to average 35.5 miles per gallon, compared with about 27.3 mpg now. That requirement climbs to 54.5 mpg in 2025.

GM and Ford hope to trump Chrysler, which is introducing eight- and nine-speed transmissions — but Chrysler has a significant head start.

Chrysler worked with transmission supplier ZF on an eight-speed for rear-drive cars that debuted in 2011 and is now in Ram pickups and large SUVs, Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne said.

A nine-speed transmission for front-drive vehicles will debut this fall in the Jeep Cherokee and will find its way into cars such as the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart, as well as next-generation minivans.

GM, Ford team up on transmissions for fuel efficiency 04/15/13 [Last modified: Monday, April 15, 2013 10:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights

    Business

    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.

    Yet.

    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]