Ford is Hatin’ on GM’s Nine-Speed Automatic; Says It’s Too Inefficient and Too Expensive to Adapt
No love lost between two bitter rivalsby Jonathan Lopez, on
Five years ago, Ford and GM entered in a partnership whereby the two U.S. auto behemoths would share a few newly developed transmissions, all in the name of greater efficiency and lower R&D costs. Now, it’s looking like Ford will take a different approach than originally outlined, adapting the GM gearbox to better suit its needs.
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Ford was left unsatisfied with the transmission it got from GM, and will instead adapt the gearbox into a unique eight-speed unit.
These days, it’s not uncommon for automakers to work together to drive down costs and increase operational efficiency. Between a changing market landscape and stricter fuel economy standards just over the horizon, it makes sense to streamline the process, even if that means working with one of your chief rivals.
As such, General Motors and Ford signed a partnership back in 2013 whereby Ford would share its newly developed 10-speed transmission, aimed at RWD platforms like the F-150 and Mustang, and in return, GM would share its FWD-oriented nine-speed transmission.
However, a recent report from Automotive News seems to show that Ford was left unsatisfied with the transmission it got from GM, and will instead adapt the gearbox into a unique eight-speed unit. The ‘eight will head to models like the Lincoln Nautilus and Ford Edge, among others.
Ford cited lackluster fuel economy improvements as the primary motivation for the change, as the nine-speed simply didn’t have the mpg required to offset its drawbacks. “The small efficiency benefit did not justify the added weight and cost of an extra clutch and gear,” said Ford spokesman Mike Levine in a statement to Automotive News.
Meanwhile, GM contends the nine-speed offers better acceleration and a more refined driving experience than before. However, initial results show not much is gained in the fuel efficiency department, with models like the Malibu gaining just one more mpg when equipped with the new ‘nine.
f Ford can save a few pounds by hacking off a gear from GM’s nine-speed, it’s gonna do it.
That said, Automotive News reports that Ford decided to use an adapted eight-speed over the GM nine-speed before the GM transmission even made it to production, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter. If true, it’s clear evidence that Ford operates much differently than its rival in Detroit.
All told, it’s not that surprising, given Ford has bent over backwards to add lightness to its range over the past few years, so it makes sense the Blue Oval is a bit skittish when it comes to the weight and complexity of some other brand’s transmission. After all, Ford decided to go with an aluminum body for it’s all-important F-150 pickup back in the 2015 model year, which is a huge expenditure in the name of saving weight. If Ford can save a few pounds by hacking off a gear from GM’s nine-speed, it’s gonna do it.
Read our full review on the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus.
Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Edge.
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Source: Automotive News