Geared for Cooperation: GM and Ford to Develop New Transmissions

New Transmission Manufactured at Van Dyke Transmission Plant

Based on their recent performance in the marketplace, it’s clear General Motors and Ford Motor Company are two car manufacturers operating in high gear. As spirited as the rivalry is between the two automakers, there has been reasons for the companies to cooperate.

Normally, we are used a brand rivalry enriched the North American car culture. In the 1950s into the 1960s, Chevrolet and Ford battled fiercely for sales supremacy. Car to car battles have always been a treat to fans of American motoring. Corvette versus early Thunderbirds, Cadillac versus Lincoln, Mustang versus Camaro as well as F-150 versus the Silverado/Sierra pickup trucks are storied machine adversarial bouts. On the race track, the old Trans-Am Series and now NASCAR stock car racing has expanded the battle of Ford and General Motors car brands. Understandably creating dissention among car enthusiasts, the battle between the Ford Fusion and the Chevrolet SS on the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is merely one outlet for contentiousness. So fierce is the competitive nature of Ford and General Motors brands, the sale of cartoon images urinating on an opposing car make has been a brisk seller. A reality hard for brand loyalists to accept, sometimes competing figures need to work collectively. Seeking new heights in gearing, General Motors and Ford will be jointly involved in the creation of a new family of automatic transmissions.

Intended for a series of upcoming cars, trucks and crossover vehicles, the Ford Motor Company and General Motors has announced their engineers are working together on a 9-speed and 10-speed automatic transmission. So involved is this newly confirmed partnership, GM vice president of global transmission engineering Jim Lanzon says, “Engineering teams from GM and Ford have already started initial design work on these new transmissions,”. For what promises to be ultra-smooth, fuel-efficient transmission, the number of gears planned on the automatic gearboxes under development is strikingly high. As luxury carmakers begin adopting eight-speed automatic transmissions, the use of a nine gears is only starting to be incorporated into vehicles. The Range Rover Evoque became the first vehicle entering production with a nine-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF Friedrichshafen. The ZF gearbox had also been announced in relations to Chrysler Group vehicles including the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. Besides the General Motors/Ford alliance in nine-speed transmission development, Mercedes-Benz is another automaker working on automatic transmissions using nine gears. No automaker has yet released a 10-speed automatic transmission for passenger car use.

 

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This is the second time General Motors and Ford Motor Company are working together on a transmission unit. The 6F or 6T Series of six-speed automatic transmissions created through an agreement in 2002 have handled energy for many front-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles. The six-speed automatic transmission debuted in 2007 model year for vehicles such as the Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX and the GMC Acadia. This partnership has led to eight million and counting examples of the six-speed automatic gearbox.

Besides manufacturing a high-tech, reliable transmission with the six-speed transmission, General Motors and Ford saving a considerable of money in the development costs. The endeavour into a 9-speed or 10-speed automatic transmission is going to be another case where the two automakers will benefit from each other’s role. Ford Motor Company‘s Chief Engineer of Transmission & Driveline Component & Pre-Program Engineering stated, “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,”.

As the 9-speed and 10-speed automatic transmissions remain in the development stages, General Motors and Ford Motor Company have yet to announce specific vehicle models for the advanced gearboxes.

Information and photo source: Ford Motor Company, General Motors

About The Author

Admiring automobiles ever since childhood viewership of the TV show Knight Rider, Chris Nagy grew as an enthusiast enroute to become an automotive and motorsport writer. Drawn to the rich world of motoring, Chris discovers charm everywhere in the industry from supercars like the Bugatti Veyron to a Kia Soul. Car design, engineering, performance and the passion itself fuels his daily existence.

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