General Motors and Ford are collaborating on development of both a nine-and 10-speed automatic transmission, the companies said today.
The technology, which will improve fuel economy for both brands, will apply to both front- and rear-wheel drive vehicles and will be used in both car and truck applications.
“Engineering teams from GM and Ford have already started initial design work on these new transmissions,” said Jim Lanzon, GM vice president of global transmission engineering.
By working together, the two automakers will save cost and speed the development process. This isn’t the first instance of the General and blue oval brand working together on transmission projects. In fact, this is the third time in the past decade. Past efforts went toward building six-speed automatics found in vehicles including the Ford Fusion, Explorer and several others along with the Chevrolet Cruze, Malibu and Equinox.
“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,” Ford chief engineer for transmission and driveline component pre-program engineering, Craig Renneker, said.
Despite planning to keep the hardware the same, the General Motors and Ford will manufacture the units in separate plants while sharing most of the components. Control software, on the other hand, will vary based on the manufacturer and vehicle.
Neither Ford nor GM provided technical details for the transmissions, saying instead that further information will be available closer to when they will be launched.
Gear laden transmissions are becoming increasingly common in new vehicles. For example, Land Rover debuted the world’s first nine-speed transmission at its booth during this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Currently, available to consumers, Chrysler’s Ram truck brand offers eight-speed automatics in its pickup trucks.