Ford, GM Team Up on Development of New Transmissions

Ford & GM logos

It can be hard to sit here and write about cars on a day when so many humans were hurt in a senseless act of violence. I am not in Boston. I’ve never been to Boston. But that doesn’t take the pain away. This wasn’t just about Boston, but about the running community, the families of runners, the volunteers for the race, the citizens of the city and the people across the world watching live footage of the response and the tremendous outpouring of support that came immediately.

I know this is a car blog, and I’ll get back on topic, but I can’t let this event go unnoticed here, especially with so many fellow CarGurus, family and friends in the Boston area. I truly hope everyone is well, and that, if there is a positive to be taken away, it’s that the darkness of evil is replaced just a little more by the light of all those who choose to love instead of hate.

Part of recovery, of course, is moving on and finding stories of cooperation and getting back to the things that make us happy. With that in mind, I want to talk about two adversaries coming together for the better good of the automotive industry.

Ford and General Motors traditionally don’t like each other very much. A healthy respect, maybe, but the two companies aren’t typically known to team up on the development of new technology. This week it was announced that the two are joining forces to design new 9-speed and 10-speed transmissions for use in a variety of vehicles.

Jim Lanzon, GM’s vice president of global transmission engineering, said,

Engineering teams from GM and Ford have already started initial design work on these new transmissions. We expect these new transmissions to raise the standard of technology, performance and quality for our customers while helping drive fuel economy improvements into both companies’ future product portfolios.

This is good on many levels. Aside from the fact that I think 8 speeds should be plenty for any passenger vehicle application, the joint development will save millions of dollars, lead to improved fuel economy and keep both companies in competition with foreign brands. Transmissions are a great system to partner on, considering they are mostly invisible to consumers and can be tweaked by the individual automakers for different levels of performance.

The new 9-speed transmissions will be used in front-wheel-drive cars and crossovers, while the 10-speed transmissions will be destined for rear-wheel-drive SUVs and trucks.

In a time when nothing is certain and anything can happen, it’s nice to hear about competitors coming together to achieve a common goal.

Here’s to you, Boston.


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  1. The domestics will need these transmissions to tame their gas hogs. Too bad Chrysler isn’t involved. They need them the most.

  2. Beautifully put and nice connections to the cooperation of American automotive companies for the greater good of partnership in entrepreneurialism.

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