Honda and Acura could continue their technological resurgence with a new nine-speed automatic transmission.
Honda hasn't exactly been at the forefront of the recent industry trend towards automatic transmissions with ever-increasing amounts of gears. However, a new report suggests that Honda will soon make use of an automatic transmission developed by German powertrain supplier ZF with no fewer than nine cogs.
Automobile reports that Honda and its luxury brand, Acura, are set to implement the ZF nine-speed as soon as 2014. Known internally as the 9HP, the gearbox is designed for transverse applications, is good for both front- and all-wheel-drive and can handle up to 354 lb-ft of torque. Those parameters mean it would be a good fit for vehicles such as Honda's Odyssey and Pilot as well as Acura's TL and MDX.
ZF claims that the gearbox can help improve fuel efficiency by 10-16 percent, and also enables an engine to spin at just 1900 rpm while propelling a vehicle at 75 mph.
Honda won't be the only automaker to make use of the ZF nine-speed. Chrysler is also expected to utilize the gearbox for a number of its offerings, such as the Jeep Liberty replacement, over the next few years.
ZF will reportedly begin production of the 9HP at its South Carolina plant in 2013.