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TMR Team | Apr, 16 2013 | 3 Comments

Ford and GM will partner on the development of new nine- and 10-speed automatic transmissions, the American carmakers announced today.

The news confirms reports in 2012 that a deal was in the works.

Full details of the partnership are still to be announced, although it is known the new transmissions will be produced for front- and rear-wheel-drive applications across a range of segment types and sizes.

Reports last year suggested that GM will produce the nine-speed unit for both companies, while Ford will be responsible for manufacturing the 10-speed system.

Combined with new engine technologies, the move to a nine-speed automatic in a compact car - such as Chrysler offers with its Dodge Dart in the US - can yield efficiency improvements of around 10 percent.

Announcing the partnership in a joint statement today, the carmakers said that the project will allow them to develop, engineer, test and produce the new transmissions faster and more affordably than otherwise possible.

The transmissions will be mechanically identical in Ford and GM models, although both manufacturers will work to deliver unique driving characteristics to suit their own brands.

"The goal is to keep hardware identical in the Ford and GM transmissions. This will maximize parts commonality and give both companies economy of scale," Ford’s Chief Engineer for transmissions, Craig Renneker, said.

"However, we will each use our own control software to ensure that each transmission is carefully matched to the individual brand-specific vehicle DNA for each company."

The deal marks the latest step beyond the current top-shelf eight-speed systems, with specialist ZF already offering a new nine-speed auto and Hyundai known to be developing a 10-speed of its own.

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