DETROIT--Ford Motor is considering using seven- or eight-speed transmissions on future vehicles if there is a tangible fuel economy benefit, a senior engineer said.
"We are looking at the benefits of seven, eight, or even more speeds for transmissions. And maybe at some point in the future, when we see the benefit is there, you might see us do something," Paul Mascarenas, Ford's vice president of research and advanced engineering, said on the sidelines of the SAE 2011 World Congress.
More gears help engines make the most efficient use of fuel.
Mascarenas said Ford has no specific plans to go beyond a six-speed transmission, which it is launching on the 2012 Ford Focus compact. That transmission will be on most Ford Motor vehicles going forward.
Hyundai Motor and Chrysler Group recently announced plans for vehicles with eight-speed transmissions. BMW, Audi, and Lexus offer eight-speed flagship cars.
"There [have] clearly been a lot of announcements and developments in terms of multispeed transmissions," Mascarenas said. "We're very heavily invested in the six-speed transmission. We're still launching that."
(Source: Automotive News)