GM and Ford are said to be partnering on new 9- and 10-speed transmissions, reports Automotive News.
According to supply chain sources, the two companies started work on the new transmissions early this year with both transmissions still in the design phase. The two companies have agreed to develop either transmission with GM taking on the 9-speed version, while Ford will take responsibility for the development of the 10-speed transmission.
The 9-speed gearbox is being targetted for use in front-wheel drive models, while the 10-speed version is expected to be aimed at rear-wheel drive models including pickups, SUVs and performance cars. By co-developing the new transmissions, the two companies can be expected to reap significant financial savings in research and development costs.
Multi-speed transmissions have been used by a number of leading car makers in recent years. European marques including Audi and BMW offer 8-speed transmissions, while Japan’s Lexus also offers an 8-speed transmission. Chrysler offers an 8-speed transmission in its Chrysler 300 and the 2013 Ram. The main benefits of the additional gears include better refinement, as the engines don’t have to rev as high between shifts, which in turn reduces fuel consumption.
A GM spokesman confirmed that two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding “to jointly develop a variety of all-new, fuel-efficient transmissions." A Ford spokesman wouldn’t be drawn any further on the matter other than saying "We always talk to other companies including GM."