Chrysler 8-speed transmission to hit the road sooner

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Just like we're constantly told through advertising that razors need more blades to give a smoother shave, automatic gearboxes are deemed better if they have more gears. Like those razors, however, one has to wonder when enough is enough. After all, how many gears can be added before you might as well build a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)? 

The number of gears in Chrysler's upcoming automatic transmission has been proven to be just the right balance for fuel economy and performance says Lexus and media professionals who have tested it. Lexus was the first to introduce an 8-speed automatic, which put it ahead of the majority of competitors still utilizing 6-speed automatic transmissions and one-upped its key rival Mercedes-Benz, which had just introduced its 7-speed autobox.

Chrysler isn't in the same league as Lexus, Mercedes-Benz or those competing against them in the premium segment, but like Hyundai has recently done with its Genesis and new Equus luxury sedans, and for that matter how the Auburn Hills-based domestic brand did years ago with its own 300C, there's no reason why the new 300 and other large cars and SUVs within the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep family can't pull some luxury customers down-market as it builds back its image through more appealing products.

News of Chrysler's 8-speed automatic isn't particularly fresh, but recently TheDetroitBureau.com reported that the automaker is pushing forward production to make it available sooner. Chrysler recently announced that it would add another $85 million USD into its Indiana-based Kokomo Transmission Plant, which has already received an investment of $843 million. The new money pays for production of the 8-speed gearbox, which was previously slated to be built at the automaker's Indiana Transmission Plant I (ITPI). Now Chrysler is free to build its next-generation front-wheel drive transmission at ITPI.

Chrysler currently uses a revised and updated version of an old Mercedes-Benz 5-speed automatic, which has served well but is long overdue for an upgrade.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Chrysler, Technology / Gadgets, Transmission,

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