North America’s top two automakers, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), are joining forces to create a better automatic transmission for front- and rear-wheel drive vehicles -- a move aimed at increasing overall performance and efficiency.
The collaboration announced on Monday between the Detroit Big 3 rivals aims to create a nine- and 10-speed automatic transmission, up from the current six- and eight-speed transmissions.
“Engineering teams from GM and Ford have already started initial design work on these new transmissions,” Jim Lanzon, GM vice president of global transmission engineering, said.
This is the third time GM and Ford have collaborated in the past decade to build transmissions, according to a statement from Ford. They previously worked together to build a six-speed, front-wheel drive transmission that’s used in the Ford Fusion sedan, the Escape and Explorer SUVs, and the Edge crossover. GM uses the same box for the Chevrolet’s Malibu, Cruze, Equinox and Travese models.
The collaboration helps both companies reduce costs by providing what Ford’s chief engineer, Craig Renneker, calls “parts commonality.” This gives the two companies an economy of scale for components that make up the shared transmission system.