Mike Stevens | Sep 30, 2011

It's tennis for transmissions. Last year, Hyundai unveiled its first eight-speed automatic transmission, signalling its intention to battle the best of the prestige segment.

Earlier this year, gearbox specialist ZF revealed the '9HP', the world's first nine-speed auto. Now, reports out of the US suggest Hyundai is skipping nine and heading straight for the big 10 in its next-generation automatic.

According to industry paper Automotive News, Hyundai president Park Seong Hyon has confirmed development of the new transmission, destined to debut in the brand's luxury models - the Genesis and the larger Equus - by 2014.

The move doubtless comes as part of Hyundai's push to meet tight new emissions laws in Europe and the US, which the Korean carmaker calls its Green Car Global Leading Strategy.

Will Hyundai's more established rivals in the prestige market move to match - or better - its 10-speed cog swapper?

Former luxury upstart Lexus beat the industry to the eight-speed mark, and it may not be long before we see ZF's nine-speed showing up in other upmarket marques.

For now though, if today's reports are accurate, Hyundai looks to have the upperhand.

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