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ZF: 10-speeds have poor returns

by David Zatz on

Automotive News quoted Stefan Sommer, CEO of transmission, axle, and other auto parts supplier ZF, as saying that the company had no plans to go past nine speeds in the immediate future.

Hemi engine with ZF HP8 8-speed transmission

GM, Ford, and Volkswagen have announced ten speed automatics, but according to Mr. Sommer, the primary reason for having a large number of gears is to support the range of ratios, which is now wide enough to prevent substantial gains. He said that any increase in fuel efficiency would be limited, and that much of the gain from a higher range or more gears would be taken up by friction, weight, and a larger transmission.

Chrysler uses ZF’s eight and nine speed automatics, and produces modified versions of both for vehicles from the inexpensive little Jeep Renegade to the Ram 1500 and Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

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