Chrysler has been hammer-down on the gear count lately, aggressively rolling out eight-speed automatics on many of its trucks, cars, and SUVs for 2013 and 2014. The latest recipient is the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which gets eight-speed automatics across the board for the new model.
The 2013 Ram 1500 with the V-6 added the eight-speed, and it will soon be available with the Hemi V-8. But eight is evidently not enough for Auburn Hills, as Chrysler is planning on making nine-speed automatics a key component of the company's front- and all-wheel-drive strategy, according to a Bloomberg report.
Among the first models to get the nine-speed transmission will be the replacement for the Jeep Liberty, due to be revealed later in 2013. The new Dodge Dart compact will also add the transmission at some point, having stumbled off the blocks in initial sales, with many of the first models off the assembly line equipped with manual transmissions, a configuration not very popular among American consumers. The next-generation Chrysler 200 sedan will also get the transmission as well.
Although nine gear ratios may seem excessive just as the industry norm has become six speeds, consumer demand for better fuel economy as well as government fuel-economy mandates are forcing manufacturers to squeeze as many miles out of a gallon of fuel as possible.