Ford has said thanks, but no thanks to a nine-speed automatic transmission co-developed with General Motors. It’s the same transmission both U.S. automakers signed on to develop years ago that included the co-developed 10-speed automatic transmission. The 10-speed transmission is just now beginning to proliferate across GM’s lineup.
When the automakers announced the development of the new transmissions, Ford took the lead on the 10-speed auto, while GM forged ahead with the nine-speed unit. The nine-speed is for front-wheel-cars, while the 10-speed caters to rear-wheel-drive vehicles.
Automotive News reported on Monday that Ford decided the nine-speed transmission did not provide enough efficiency to justify the added weight. Instead, it has opted to introduce an eight-speed automatic based on the GM transmission. For higher-performance vehicles, it will use an adopted eight-speed automatic based on a six-speed automatic unit.
GM has rolled out the nine-speed automatic on nine different cars so far. They range from the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu, 2018 Buick LaCrosse and 2018 GMC Terrain. Meanwhile, Ford will introduce its GM-based eight-speed auto on four cars for 2019, the Edge, Focus, Nautilus and Transit Connect.
According to the outlet’s source, Ford actually made the decision not to use the nine-speed automatic before GM even introduced the transmission. Ford is confident its eight-speed unit will provide the right efficiency for its cars without the added weight.
“The small efficiency benefit did not justify the added weight and cost of an extra clutch and gear,” Ford spokesman Mike Levine told AN.