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The Chrysler 300 will be a recipient of the new 9-speed automatic transmission.
A 16% improvement in fuel efficiency is expected from nine-speed transmission

Automakers are pulling out all the stops and looking to squeeze every single mile per gallon out of their automobiles by any means necessary. Automakers are looking at more fuel-efficient engines with smaller displacements, but they're also looking at reducing the weight of vehicles and increasing the number of forward gears used in car/truck transmissions. 
 
Adding forward gears to a transmission makes a lot of sense because the slower the engine spins, the less fuel it consumes. In years past automatic transmissions used in vehicles commonly had four or five forward gears. More recent vehicles are moving up to six-speed and in some cases even eight-speed automatic transmissions in luxury vehicles. Chrysler is eyeing even more gears inside with nine-speed gearboxes for more mainstream vehicles.
 
According to Mircea Gradu, vice president transmission powertrain driveline engineering, Chrysler will roll out its first nine-speed transmission by the first half of 2013. “I’m convinced that, sooner or later, others will come up with similar solutions,” Gradu said in an interview from his office in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where Chrysler is based. “Hopefully, the time will be as long as possible until they catch up with the technology.”
 
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne believes that the automaker and its various brands will be able to meet looming fuel-efficiency standards by using technology that improves traditional gasoline engines combined with better transmissions rather than moving to plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles. CAFE standards will reach 54.5 mpg by 2025.
 
Michael Omotoso, a powertrain analyst at LMC Automotive, said, "They’re [Chrysler] doing basically the bare minimum to satisfy government regulations. Their strategy is to meet the standards with minimum investment.”
 
Bloomberg reports that the nine-speed transmission Chrysler is developing could boost fuel economy of certain models by as much as 16%. Chrysler has already scored a 15% boost in the highway fuel economy of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger by adding an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Source: Business Week



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By Beenthere on 8/1/2012 9:53:22 AM , Rating: 1
The absurd CAFE standards that auto makers are being forced to meet is leading to very expensive designs that consumers will be forced to pay for or go without an auto.

7-8-9 speed trans are a means to achieve a reliable, high torque capacity "CVT" type design. Yes lowering the engine RPM up to a point reduces fuel consumption and this will work for steady state crusing conditions.

When you need to accelerate however then the trans will need to downshift or the driver will need to use considerably more throttle, so there isn't a free lunch here.

***The added gears may however help meet the absurd EPA CAFE mandates (in the test lab), and be of less value in actual road use.***




By ihateu3 on 8/1/2012 10:24:33 AM , Rating: 4
So when a person needs to accelerate in a lesser geared transmission, you think it would be more fuel efficient or somehow add performance value?

More gears in a transmission not only offers greater fuel efficiency, but also offers greater acceleration and more precise control over the desired acceleration...

Half throttle in a 2 speed drops you into first, half throttle in a 5 speed drops you to 2nd or 3rd, while half throttle in a 9 speed may drop you to 6th.

Finer control
Better acceleration
Better fuel economy

Only downfall to this idea is barely added weight, and also overall reliability until the system has its bugs worked out. Once the bugs are worked out, it will prove to be a better option to what is currently offered. You don't see many 5 speed autos failing more often than 3 speed autos, but I am sure people condemned the 5 speed autos when they where new also...

If anything, I would think you would welcome this, as it adds better fuel efficiency without a hit to performance, it actually helps performance, and lastly is an American car company trying to create technology for once. This does not happen often... I think it is a great idea, that will be surpassed by the Japanese once they give it their go, they had already beat Mercedes to the punch to the 7 speed transmission by skipping over them and creating the worlds first 8 speed auto transmission... Pretty sure that was in 2006


By Mitch101 on 8/1/2012 11:10:05 AM , Rating: 2
As someone who owned One Chrysler and 3 transmissions before selling the car I hope that someone else makes the transmission for them.


By Samus on 8/2/2012 1:53:39 AM , Rating: 3
All the transmissions that failed on you were probably made for Chrysler by Mitsubishi.

But it isn't entirely Mitsubishi's fault. For example, for almost two decades, Chrysler used the F4A22-2 transmission supplied by Mitsubishi in their minivans with 3.0l and 3.3l V6's. These transmissions were rated for light vehicle use (they were common in the Galant and the Hyundai Sonata, which used the same Mitsubishi V6 as the Galant.)

Chrysler thought they'd out-wit the laws of physics putting a transmission rated for a 3000lb vehicle in a 4000lb vehicle with half the aerodynamics. Obviously most of these transmissions needed multiple rebuilds because the overdrive bands burned up or the 1st gear solenoids failed.


By inperfectdarkness on 8/2/2012 7:46:41 AM , Rating: 1
the f4a33/w4a33 is one of the most bulletproof transmissions ever put into a car. legions of DSM guys are running 9's with them.

i would say it's chrysler that doesn't know how to build a transmission worth a crap.

for what it's worth though, most consumers don't need more than 4 non-overdrive forward speeds. 5 if you count the 5th as 1:1. overdrive has been a shortcoming on production automobiles for quite some time (especially on fleet vehicles that get a lot of mileage). .50:1 isn't a great ratio for accelerating, but it's terrific for crusing at 75mph on the highway.

there is a reason semi-trucks may have anywhere from 9 to 18 different forward gears. i'm glad to see that automakers in the past 10 years have finally began to offer the consumer choices that should have been offered back in 1974.


By NellyFromMA on 8/2/2012 12:32:11 PM , Rating: 2
It also offers greater complexity to the engineering of and repair/maintenance of the transmission. Expect more failures and more expensive service. A very simple rule of mechanics (and engineering as a whole) is the more moving parts, the more points of failure.

Yes, you can get greater performance and / or as a result potentially greater mpg. However, at what TRUE COST will that come at? It's not really feasible to simply complicate the transmission (already essentially the most complicated part of a vehicle) and make it MORE prone to failure.

People do not understand how this supremely negatively effects the life of a vehicle before major transmission repair is necessary... Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather pay the gas prices with my 31mpg integra over this


By DrApop on 8/1/2012 10:27:34 AM , Rating: 2
Oh please...I don't want to hear those absurd complaints. For close to 30 years the CAFE standards hardly moved/auto lobbies got them blocked. So for 30 years after the oil embargo of the 70's, auto companies did very very little except sit on their a$$es.
Now all of a sudden they are complaining because they actually have to do something. If they had spent all those wasted years working on the problem, it wouldn't cost an arm and a leg to implement it.

Perhaps you ought to not think about it as being forced to raise standards. Instead, think of it as asking/telling auto companies that they have to do the American thing and blaze the trail of innovation instead of becoming complacent and growing a far a$$.


By Ringold on 8/1/2012 11:08:23 AM , Rating: 5
Foreign car manufacturers (Toyota, Honda specifically) already did that in the ways that, you know, people actually cared about. Driving around any parking lot for the last 20 years tells you that the auto-industry changed, and for the better, with Japanese auto's pushing forward with reliability and quality.

What people didn't care about was fuel efficiency. The Insight has been around since the late 90s I think, and never has been particularly popular. People cared more about the other stuff that's added hundreds of pounds to the weight of vehicles. Why would've they spent years solving a problem that only existed in the minds of environmentalist fringe groups? Why spend the money to "blaze the trail of innovation" that the Insight showed people didn't want to buy at the time? Simply because you think they should?

Unfortunately for them though, now the EPA's packed full of those environmentalists. Just don't pretend its the peoples will; money talks. Even in trucks, there's a reason the Ranger and Colorado have been dieing a slow death.. People dont want more fuel efficient, less expensive light trucks; they vote with their money on full-size Ram 1500s, F150s and Silverados.

But yes, we know that you're intellectually superior to everybody and America's companies should conform to your views and America's consumers should buy what you think they should buy.


By jeffkro on 8/2/2012 2:03:05 AM , Rating: 2
The ranger and Colorado were lagging because of poor design. Toyota sells tons of Tacoma's.


By mindless1 on 8/2/2012 2:29:15 AM , Rating: 3
That is the most ignorant thing I have read here in a long time. Since the 70's automobiles have gained (and in some cases then lost again):

- Driver air bag
- Passenger air bag
- Side air bags
- Auto climate control in non-luxury vehicles
- Front Wheel Drive
- Electronic Engine Control
- Motor driven fans
- Fuel Injection
- Anti-lock brakes
- Tire pressure sensing
- High intensity headlights
- Streamlined designs
- Higher crash resistance
- higher MPG to weight ratio (safety features don't come free, they weigh more)
- Mass produced ELECTRIC CAR
- too many other things to keep adding to this list

Adding a few gears and acting like that is finally doing something after no activity is just absurd.

They HAVE spent years working on and achieving better automobiles. There's no way I would consider driving a 1970's car as a primary vehicle, only as a toy, if it was a classic convertible only driven slow around town on the weekend just to show it off.

The "American thing" is free market. Let them choose to build whatever they want to and the consumer buys what they want WITHOUT it being forced upon them through government. The government is not supposed to force things upon the people, it is instead supposed to represent the will of the people which could have already been expressed by what they choose to purchase.

All that government intervention does is bad - it removes freedom of choice.


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