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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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RE: Or....
By Brandon Hill on 8/1/2012 9:56:08 AM , Rating: 5
Nowadays, most automatic transmissions are more fuel efficient than the manual version.

On top of that, manuals transmissions are quickly disappearing as options altogether.

RE: Or....
By MadMan007 on 8/1/2012 10:11:27 AM , Rating: 2
I see this in EPA ratings all the time, although it's usually close within a few MPG. I wonder how much of that is up to auto transmissions being tuned for the test? I know there are other efficiency improvements but it's also easy to make them look good for a set test with known parameters.

Side note - I get 35+ MPG combined in my 5-speed manual transmission Mazda 3 (2011 2.0L) which is 6 MPG above the EPA combined rating and 3 MG above the highway rating.

RE: Or....
By MrBlastman on 8/1/2012 11:08:54 AM , Rating: 1
The one thing these "mega" auto transmissions won't be efficient at are repair bills. The more parts they put in them, the more expensive and time-consuming they are to fix.

RE: Or....
By Brandon Hill on 8/1/2012 11:16:35 AM , Rating: 2
Well, that could be said for any new "product" purchased today from TVs to washing machines to refrigerators.

New automobiles are loaded with advanced engines, electronics, etc. that are just waiting to empty your wallet in the event of a failure (after the warranty period).

RE: Or....
By MrBlastman on 8/1/2012 11:37:13 AM , Rating: 1
Advanced shouldn't always equal "more complicated," though.

There is a certain elegance in mechanical design that rests in simplicity of operation and repetitive action. The more factors you add into the system, the greater the potential for failure and it isn't a linear relationship.

Anyone can design something complicated. However, it takes a true genius to design something to do a complicated task with an utterly simple design and mechanics--and in less steps.

I know American cars have made huge improvements in the last decade but I still worry about the tainted past that they have when it comes to upping the ante. This holds especially true for a company like Chrysler which... is affiliated with Fiat, who doesn't have that great of a reputation.

RE: Or....
By Spuke on 8/2/2012 6:27:37 PM , Rating: 2
Advanced shouldn't always equal "more complicated," though.
And sometimes things are just complicated and that's the way it is. And then sometimes things just SEEM complicated because we don't understand it. DCTs, for example, take existing technology, manual transmissions, and adds a layer of electronics to it. Quite frankly it's still the gearbox, clutch, TO we all know and love with a more precise shifting and clutching algorithm added to it. A DCT is still a mostly mechanical device. I deal with things like this daily with people (I'm in IT). Adding a simple computer (and transmission computers are simple) does not complexity make. Adding another set of gears in a conventional torque converter automatic does not complexity make. You know what's complex? The theories centering around time and space.

RE: Or....
By sigmatau on 8/1/2012 9:34:02 PM , Rating: 2
Or, Or just get a car with a nonstupid 36,000 mile warranty. How are they still in business? My local GM, Toyota, Scion, and maybe others offer lifetime mechanical warranties (nationwide too btw!)

RE: Or....
By Tabinium on 8/1/2012 11:44:10 AM , Rating: 2
I've noticed that the effective final drive ratio (which is the top gear, 5th or 6th, times the final drive) of the manual transmissions in new Ford Focus (5 gears) and Mazda 3 (6 gears) is actually higher than that of the autos. This is why there are more examples nowadays of autos besting manuals in highway mileage.
Automatics, however, can be more efficient in the city, because a computer and torque converter are simply more consistent than a human.

RE: Or....
By fishman on 8/1/2012 12:00:05 PM , Rating: 2
It's the way the EPA tests are run. The manual transmissions are shifted at specified engine RPMS and car speeds.

RE: Or....
By Philippine Mango on 8/1/2012 12:21:51 PM , Rating: 2
Aside from automated manual transmissions, automatics are still less efficient than manual transmissions. The reason you see the same or slightly worse fuel economy on the manual transmission version of a car nowadays is entirely due to the gear ratios chosen for the stick shift versions. People today who buy manuals want a sporty car and so to make it like that, they've made the car more easily rev which consequently hurts fuel economy. Even so, that not withstanding, because one has total control over the shifting patterns, a short geared (lots of revs) manual can still beat an automatic in fuel economy especially if you short shift or even skip shift gears.

RE: Or....
By sigmatau on 8/1/2012 9:36:06 PM , Rating: 2
I understand what you are saying but when people see 34mpg vs 29mpg highway they will crap on a manual.

RE: Or....
By FITCamaro on 8/1/2012 1:17:36 PM , Rating: 1
If an automatic is more fuel efficient than a manual, its because they gave the auto better gear ratios. With the same engine and final drive ratio, a manual will always be a little better than an auto because of it being around 100 pounds lighter.

RE: Or....
By Rukkian on 8/1/2012 1:34:39 PM , Rating: 2
So how would somebody go about buying a manual and getting the better gear ratios?

The point is that for most people, the auto will be basically equivalent to a manual (in some cases much better). The argument that they are alot better is not true anymore except in extreme cases.

RE: Or....
By conquistadorst on 8/1/2012 1:53:05 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but I'd really like to call BS on that. This only started happening once the EPA "updated" the way the tests were conducted to better reflect driving realities. So I wonder if this "reality" reflects common poor driving habits such as slamming the gas as soon as the light turns green.

I would like to see some actual fuel efficiency-maximums studies done to see which transmission-type can go further, throwing aside realities of poor driving habits and just pushing the machines themselves to the max.

The only thing I can say for certain is that the EPA rates my 2001 vehicle at 27/33MPG but I regularly obtain 38-40mpg even with a 50/50 highway/city mileage mixture.

RE: Or....
By sigmatau on 8/1/2012 9:38:49 PM , Rating: 2
The EPA test for a 2001 car was PURE BS. If that car was retested using the new EPA test (that came out aroune 2005), it would get an even worse score.

You must drive like an old fart. :}

RE: Or....
By YashBudini on 8/1/2012 7:53:41 PM , Rating: 2
On top of that, manuals transmissions are quickly disappearing as options altogether

Ah, but a niche market also allows for higher pricing. Witness the Acura TL, where the only way to get a 6 speed manual is to buy a top of the line AWD model with the Tech Package.

To buy a manual for better mileage started becoming a moot point once lock-up torque converters became popular.

As for options disappearing, take a look at how many cars offer any interior colors options. That's less about demand than it is about streamlining assembly lines.

RE: Or....
By sigmatau on 8/1/2012 9:43:32 PM , Rating: 2
Bingo! A car manufacturer loses money offering a manual on a mainstream car as it makes them have to tool two different assembly lines for a car that is not wanted by 93.5% of the population (US). Some car manufacturers are offering an auto at the same price as a manual. Look at the Ford Fusion.

RE: Or....
By YashBudini on 8/1/2012 10:50:42 PM , Rating: 2
Decades ago economy cars were routinely slow performers and automatics made them total dogs. Yeah they were a tad quicker with stick, but often very marginally.

These comments don't include the GM 2 speed Powerglide, which managed to make V8s behave like 6 cylinders.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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