Ford and GM may team up

MATT CAMPBELL
Last updated 11:17 04/10/2012

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Ford and General Motors may put their century-long rivalry behind them after reports suggested the two US automotive giants are planning to work together on new high-tech gearboxes.

The New York Times reports that GM and Ford are expected to announce an agreement to develop new eight-, nine- and 10-speed automatic transmissions for both brands. In the process, the companies will be able to cut costs by not having to outsource for transmissions, as well as share engineering ideas to make the gearboxes more efficient and advanced than they would otherwise have been able to do had the companies developed the transmissions individually.

The main focus of the new transmissions being to reduce the amount of fuel used in light of stricter global consumption and emissions guidelines coming into play over the next five years.

The gearboxes are expected to implemented across Ford and GM cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles, with both front- and rear-wheel-drive applications possible.

Ford currently offers a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission on its Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo models, and a regular six-speed auto for the Territory and Falcon.

Holden offers six-speed automatic transmissions in its Commodore, Cruze and Captiva.

Other brands are also working on new transmissions with increasing numbers of gear ratios. Hyundai is working on a new 10-speed automatic, which it hopes will be offered in 2014-model vehicles. Specialist gearbox maker ZF is working on a nine-speed unit that is likely to be offered in Chrysler group models from 2013 onwards.

Jaguar/Land Rover, Chrysler, BMW and Volkswagen all offer eight-speed automatic transmissions in their cars. These transmissions are sourced from ZF.

-Fairfax Australia

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