Chrysler announced plans to invest $300 million to modernize two plants that will build its new fuel-efficient eight-speed transmission.
While Chrysler would not confirm in which vehicles the transmission will be used, the online chatter is that the new technology will be used in Chrysler's trucks and SRT vehicles. However, Chrysler spokesperson Nick Cappa commented that, "It can be used in a lot more vehicles than that."
Cappa would not say if the eight-speed will be used in any Fiat-branded vehicles.
Chrysler will license the technology from ZF, a German automotive parts manufacturer. The carmaker's facility upgrade will not be completed until 2013, and until that time it will purchase the German-made transmissions directly from ZF.
Overall, the move will help Chrysler achieve a fleetwide 25 percent fuel economy improvement by 2014. Chrysler is the first domestic automaker to announce the use of an eight-speed transmission and hint that it could be implemented in a wide range of vehicles. BMW and Lexus currently offer the advanced technology in a couple of their sedans, and Audi recently announced plans to replace the six-speed transmission in most of its cars with ZF's eight-speed.