The big news in truck and SUV transmissions may be with the eight-speed transmission in the 2013 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the forthcoming nine-speed automatic in the Jeep Cherokee, but Chrysler may have to share the limelight soon with both Ford and General Motors, which have today announced joint development of nine and 10-speed automatic transmissions.
What makes this announcement even more interesting and potentially of interest to the truck and SUV market is that both transverse (front-drive) and longitudinal (rear-drive) applications were announced for co-development, suggesting multi-ratio transmissions may be in the works for rear-drive cars, trucks, and SUVs.
With rapidly escalating CAFE standards across the board, the larger motivation is increased fuel economy, but after having experienced the eight-speed transmission in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500, we feel these transmissions can also greatly benefit driveability and responsiveness as well, especially in larger and heavier vehicles such as trucks and SUVs.
No specific timeline for a production rollout of the jointly developed transmissions was announced, but hardware commonality will be prioritized to keep costs down. The transmissions will be built at both Ford and GM plants, and each company will develop its own proprietary software calibration.
Source: Ford, General Motors