One Giant Leap for Chrysler
New 9-speed ZF transmissions will make all the difference.
Transmission manufacturer ZF has just announced that the company is hard at work on an all-new 9-speed automatic transmission. Automakers have been increasingly turning to higher gear counts as a way to maximize power and increase the fuel efficiency of their engines, and while the trend has helped the once-exotic 6-speed automatic displace the lowly 4-speed as the go-to gearbox, it’s also pushed transmission manufacturers to come up with ever loftier numbers of gears. Hence, the ZF 9-speed gearbox.
Interestingly enough, ZF says that Chrysler will be the first automaker to take advantage of the new transmission.
Chrysler’s products have been famously hobbled by transmissions designed shortly after Eli Whitney cobbled together his first cotton gin. While the company’s engine architecture is just now beginning to catch up to the competition -- thanks to the arrival of the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 -- the company's history is filled with oddly programmed and inefficient 4-speed automatic transmissions that have done little to improve drivability or fuel efficiency.
When the company begins slipping the new ZF gearbox into its products, buyers can expect to see double-digit improvements in fuel economy. That’s no small claim, and if it turns out to be true, this new ZF tranny should instantly catapult Chrysler products from the Stone Age to the Space Age. As of right now, there’s no indication when the 9-speed automatic will arrive, nor what vehicles will use it. We do know that ZF says that the gearbox is designed to be used with a transversely mounted engine, meaning cars, crossovers and SUVs with front-wheel drive are likely to be the sole benefactors.
Cynicism aside - it's refreshing to see this kind of risk-taking forward thinking coming from an American automaker rather than the past theme of obfuscate, complain, whine, and finally adopt the technology long after it became standard on cars in ever other part of the world. Good for them. FINALLY Detroit has gotten the message that there are advantages to LEADING as opposed to FOLLOWING. Best of luck, Chrysler (and I actually mean it).
COACHFOX, come back when you know what you're talking about.....if that's even possible. Are you related to bababooey70 by any chance?
Aberdale, Fiat only has a 20% stake in Chrysler right now. The unions and U.S./Canadian governments own the majority. At 20% Chrysler can hardly be considered a subsidiary of Fiat.
Before start calling people "slow," you might want to get familiar with this new invention. We call it a "joke." Sometimes people like to bust other people's chops when they slip up. Obviously we all knew what you were talking about, but you worded that very poorly. So we are giving you a hard time.
If you don't like jokes, you are going to have a very hard time getting through life. When you are older you will understand.
INSERT RANDOM NAME..you should get out more.
Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?
I have posted a link to the SAE website that describes the reasoning behind the new ZF transmission. After reading it I was like, ah, so that is why they are going so big.aaron.h20, interesting article. Thanks for sharing it.
EXPLORE NEW CARS
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at firstname.lastname@example.org.