In 2013, Chrysler Group will launch its biggest U.S. investment since its 2009 bankruptcy: eight- and nine-speed gearboxes that will help improve performance and fuel economy of its vehicles. According to Mircea Gradu, vice president of transmission powertrain and driveline engineering, eight-speed auto transmissions will be fitted to Chrysler vehicles starting late this year.
Gradu added that the company will introduce the industry’s first nine-speed transmissions in the first half of 2013. “I’m convinced that, sooner or later, others will come up with similar solutions. Hopefully, the time will be as long as possible until they catch up with the technology,” Gradu was quoted as saying by Automotive News.
Fiat and Chrysler CEO is convinced 8- and 9-speed gearboxes can help the group’s vehicles meet regulatory requirements primarily by improving traditional gasoline engines rather than developing hybrid cars, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. It’s a strategy that requires less investment and has already helped boost sales of the Chrysler 300.
Thanks to the new transmissions, Chrysler will meet stricter standards, as U.S. rules require automakers to double their corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) to 54,5 miles per gallon by 2025. Since 2007, Chrysler has invested $1.3 billion in transmissions.