Dual-clutch transmissions are emerging as the latest trend in automotive gearboxes, and the Italians aren't about to miss out on the newest fashion. Fiat announced earlier today a new family of six-speed transmissions, called C635, that will premiere as a manual in June 2009, followed by a dual-clutch version in September 2009 before the automated manual comes out in 2010.

The C635s will be offered on a range of Fiat products including Lancias and Alfa Romeos, and will be capable of handling 35kgm of torque. They'll be built by Fiat Powertrain Technologies at its Verrone plant 75km outside of Turin, handled by a workforce that will more than double to 1100 staff. Called the Dual Dry Clutch (DDC) transmission, Fiat's will follow Volkswagen's seven-speed second-generation DSG (which also switches from wet clutches to lighter-weight dry ones when it debuts on the Golf this month), Volvo's Powershift transmission (due next month) and the BMW M3's new M-DCT (available from March).

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]