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9 and 10 speed transmissions coming from joint Ford and GM agreement

Ford and General Motors have been rivals for pretty much their entire history, however there are reports now stating that the two Detroit-based automotive rivals will join forces in order to develop next-generation nine- and ten-speed automatic transmissions.

The New York Times reports that the two manufacturing giants are developing an alliance to create high-ratio transmissions for both their future passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles.

There are speculations that the nine-speed transmissions will be meant for front-wheel drive vehicles, while the ten-speed models will find their place in rear- and all-wheel drive vehicles.

The major goal behind this alliance is to considerably reduce development and manufacturing costs of both their future gearboxes, as part of the companies’ efforts to reduce the fuel consumption and emissions of their vehicles. They truly need this considering that increasingly stringent standards on emissions and fuel efficiency will be introduced both in the US, but more-so in Europe which already has some emissions standards in place for quite some time, over the coming years.

Various industry analysts have predicted that the joint investment will reach about one billion dollars and more than half a million transmissions will be produced every year – it’s undoubtedly the type of attention that Detroit needs right now.

It is interesting to stress the fact that Ford and GM are still rivals on the showroom floor, but they’ve managed to put their differences aside in order to engage in a mutually beneficial endeavor.

This isn’t the first time they’ve done this either, a decade ago they also co-developed and produced a six-speed gearbox for their front-wheel drive models. That project – called 6F by Ford and 6T70 by GM – reached the production floor in 2006 and has been used in over eight million vehicles since then.

Developing in-house transmissions allows the manufacturers to much better tailor their components to suit their needs as well as eliminating the rather high royalty costs for licenses and intellectual property rights charged by gearbox specialists like Germany’s ZF or Japan’s Aisin.

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