• Mar 29, 2010
Ford PowerShift transmissions on the line – Click above for high-res image gallery

The new Ford Fiesta will be the first product vehicle from any of the Detroit automakers to have a dual clutch transmission, and production is starting today. The Ford PowerShift gearboxes are being built at the Getrag Americas joint venture factory in Irapuato, Mexico. At launch the plant is employing 200 people, a number that will double later this year when the plant also starts building the same transmissions for the 2012 Focus.

A dual clutch transmission can almost be thought of as two traditional manual transmissions, each with its own clutch operating in parallel and alternating shifts. The Ford unit is a six-speed with one clutch acting on gears 1, 3 and 5 and the other used for 2, 4 and 6. As first gear is engaged, the 2-4-6 clutch is disengaged and the second gear cogs are engaged. At the appropriate time, the 1-3-5 clutch is disengaged the other is engaged. While in second gear, the other side moves from first to third. The process is repeated with quick smooth shifts and none of the of the efficiency loss normally associated with torque converters.

The Ford gearbox also uses dry clutches, which are more efficient than the wet clutches previously used in some earlier Volkswagen DSG gearboxes.

The 1.6-liter Fiesta with PowerShift transmission is expected to get an EPA highway rating of at least 40 miles per gallon. The new Focus will use a 2.0-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine with the PowerShift transmission and may also approach 40 mpg, something Ford is surely hoping for in light of the just announced 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco and its unofficial highway mpg of 40 mpg or more.



[Source: Ford]
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POWERSHIFT TRANSMISSION PRODUCTION BEGINS, DRIVING FORD SMALL CAR FUEL ECONOMY LEADERSHIP
  • Production of new PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission for new 2011 Ford Fiesta begins today, helping Ford deliver on its plan for offering fuel-saving six-speed transmissions across its product portfolio
  • Fiesta with PowerShift joins the 2011 Mustang Coupe V-6 as the second recent Ford vehicle to offer better fuel economy with an automatic transmission than a manual
  • PowerShift characteristics are particularly well-suited to smaller car applications, making the transmission a perfect fit for Fiesta and the upcoming Ford Focus
  • Advanced technology with energy-saving electromechanical actuation system minimizes friction helping PowerShift deliver an expected class-leading fuel economy

DEARBORN, Mich., March 29, 2010 – Helping deliver on Ford Motor Company's commitment to class-leading fuel economy and exceptional driving quality, production is launching today of the PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission for the 2011 Ford Fiesta.

The new dual-clutch automatic – the first six-speed transmission in the segment – will help the stylish Fiesta to deliver an expected best-in-class fuel economy rating of at least 40 mpg on the highway with the convenience of fully automatic shifting.

The PowerShift automatic is produced for Ford by GETRAG Americas, a joint venture between the GETRAG Group and GETRAG FORD Transmissions. The transmission is built at a new facility in Irapuato, Mexico. The assembly plant was designed and constructed specifically for Ford transmission needs in North America and will also supply PowerShift units for the new Ford Focus. When Focus transmission production begins later this year, the plant will have 400 workers, double the amount that it has now. Next-generation Focus production begins later this year at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich.

"We believe this new automatic transmission for the Fiesta will be the most advanced in the segment, offering far better performance than our competitors," said Piero Aversa, team leader for PowerShift development. "It's an advanced gearbox that reduces complexity, saves weight, increases responsiveness and performance – all while helping keep the engine in its peak efficiency mode – resulting in class-leading fuel economy."

Ford eliminating automatic transmission tradeoffs
The Fiesta is the second new Ford vehicle to deliver better fuel economy using an automatic transmission rather than a manual. The new six-speed automatic in the 2011 Mustang Coupe betters the highway fuel economy of the standard six-speed manual by 2 mpg.

Traditionally, manual transmissions have delivered higher fuel economy. But Ford's latest automatic transmission advancements have reversed the decades-old scenario, using advanced technology to provide customers with exceptional efficiency and the convenience of an automatic transmission.

With an array of new automatic transmission technologies, Ford is out to challenge the status quo by delivering segment-leading fuel economy without compromise to convenience, and accessibility to a much broader segment of the driving public. Fewer drivers possess stick-shift skills, as manual transmission market acceptance continues to drop, falling 22 percent over the last decade.

"Ford's advanced new six-speed automatic transmissions will really surprise our customers, and our competitors," said Barb Samardzich, vice president of Powertrain Development. "They provide the convenience of traditional automatics with fuel economy leadership, as well as responsive performance and driving dynamics that make these cars fun to drive. And we're adding six-speed transmissions to our most accessible vehicles, not just our luxury offerings and high-performance models."

Ford is committed to six-speed transmissions, with availability across 85 percent of its nameplates for 2010. By 2013, these fuel-saving, performance-enhancing six-speed transmissions will be offered in 100 percent of Ford vehicles.

About PowerShift
The dual dry-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission is based on efficient manual transmission technology, eliminating the additional weight and complexity of a torque converter, planetary gears and the fluid pumps employed in traditional automatics. Electronically controlled, twin internal clutches shift gears quickly and smoothly, providing a seamless flow of torque with the refinement and ease customers expect from a premium automatic transmission.

On sale this summer, the Ford Fiesta with PowerShift, in combination with an advanced 1.6-liter I-4 engine, is expected to deliver fuel efficiency of at least 40 mpg on the highway. Fiesta will be the only vehicle in the segment to offer the efficiency and the fun of a sophisticated six-speed automatic transmission.

Coming to market early in 2011, the new Ford Focus will combine an innovative, direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with PowerShift to deliver better overall performance and projected fuel economy gains of up to 10 percent over the current Focus 2.0-liter powertrain.

"A dual dry-clutch transmission provides some real dividends on small car applications," said Aversa. "PowerShift with dry-clutch facings and new energy-saving electromechanical actuation for clutches and gear shifts saves weight, improves efficiency, increases smoothness, adds durability and is sealed with low-friction gear lubricant for the life of the vehicle. This transmission requires no regular maintenance."


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  • 14 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I realize I am not in the majority here, but I really don't care how slick or efficient the automatic transmission is, I will take the manual every time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Performance and drivability wise, are they going to be in a league above "slushboxes?" how durable will they be against higher power than stock? Will they be able to hold gears till redline without failure?

      Are these the new "no-servicing/refilling of the trans fluid" closed loop trannies that I read ford will be making for the fiesta?
      • 4 Years Ago
      let's hope that with this announcement, old-school automatic transmissions will be dead. next, ford should make one with a 7th gear and wet-plate clutches and make it the only automatic option in the mustang (without disturbing the manual-trans mustang, which can and should stay around). yes, it'll cost maybe a thousand bucks more than a current auto mustang, but it will be entirely worth it, especially since americans seem to want automatic-transmission convenience with manual-transmission power more and more.
      • 4 Years Ago
      40mpg 2.0 DI with a six speed DCT for an American car price.... sign me up!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Totally agree.
        It's got all the cool stuff some German cars have and more.
        Hopefully it is more reliable.. crossing my fingers here.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This car is almost to good to be true! Its got the looks (in the hatchback) power with the ecoboost 1.6L and the DCT, Its a winner if it can deliver all of those things with reliability! Still looking forward to the rest if the ecoboost motors that are in the pipe-line!
      • 4 Years Ago
      It may match the FE and Efficiency of a Manual but it's still a premium option. Just because people aren't experienced on the Manual tranny doesn't mean they can't learn. Although I've heard many times how a guy has turned down a Manual tranny car because his wife/GF couldn't drive a stick shift. It wouldn't be that hard to learn either if the only vehicles that still came with manual transmissions wasn't just trucks, econoboxes, and high end sports cars.

      The Dual clutch isn't going to reduce the MSRP price any but at least it's an improvement over the AutoSlushBoxes and better than the CVT.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think VW has a dry clutch DSG too, but I think it's only in Audi's at the moment. The DSG in the 2010 GTI is still wet clutch.
        • 4 Years Ago
        VW use both dry and wet clutch, the dry clutch is used at smaller cars with lower power numbers.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I thought Getrag did a unit like this for the old SVT focus? I suppose it's different, but I'm not sure how, I think I remember the set-up having th gears on different systems.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sounds nice. There will probably never be a dual-clutch transmission made in the USA though due to labor costs though and that's sad

      This combined with the promised 1.6L 4-banger should make a nice combo for a high-end Fiesta. Is there a more economical combo offered also?

      Looks like GM isn't the only company not offering DI on their small vehicles. There's room for improvement later I guess.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm greatly anticipating the PowerShift in the 2.0L Focus.
        • 4 Years Ago
        As many know these transmissions serve the function of an automatic transmission as well as a manual. All you need is a microcmputer and a couple of sensors to handle the shift points.
        I wondered when these would finally be mass marketed. And, as I expected, Ford would be the first American company in the U.S. market.

        These trannies have so many advantages over the hydros, the only reason I think they haven't been on the market is the bean counters have been at it again, slowing up progress!
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