By Nick Gibbs, Crain News Service
DETROIT (May 7, 2013) — Volkswagen A.G. is developing a 10-speed dual-clutch transmission to help reduce fuel consumption in its vehicles, CEO Martin Winterkorn said.
The transmission is one of a number of drivetrain technologies that the auto maker is focusing on for the mid- and long term, he said. Others include plug-in hybrids and a high performance diesel engine.
"Among the alternative drive systems plug-in hybrids in particular offer great potential," Mr. Winterkorn said at the Vienna Motor Symposium on April 26.
He gave no time frame for the new technologies.
Auto makers and suppliers have increased development into multiple-speed transmissions as regulators in the European Union and the U.S. call for greater fuel economy from new vehicles.
Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. are collaborating on 9- and 10-speed automatic transmissions for use in rear-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive applications in cars, SUVs and trucks. The auto makers already have a jointly developed 6-speed transmission.
Jaguar Land Rover Ltd. will introduce a nine-speed automatic transmission in the Range Rover Evoque later this year. ZF Friedrichshafen developed the transmission for front-drive, transverse applications. As well being good for economy, the transmission has a low first gear to help with towing.
"It works well in place of a low-ratio gearbox," Craig Carter, vehicle engineering manager at Land Rover, told Automotive News Europe recently.
The same transmission also will be fitted to the new Jeep Cherokee. Jeep parent Chrysler Group L.L.C. will build the transmission at its Kokomo, Ind., factory.
Hyundai Motor Co. is working on a 10-speed transmission for luxury models for Hyundai and Kia with a launch date of 2014.
This report appeared in Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.