Chrysler has delayed plans for a dual-clutch gearbox in the United States, according to The Car Connection. The high-tech gearbox was slated to be introduced with the 2012 Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200, but refinement issues have reportedly put the introduction on hold. At present, the best transmission offered with the front-wheel-drive sedans is a conventional six-speed automatic.

Fiat and Chrysler head Sergio Marchionne has said that any new product released by the reborn Detroit-based automaker has to be perfect before being offered to the public, and the automaker was concerned that Americans wouldn't like the feel of a dual-clutch gearbox. Europeans have had access to dual clutches in Chrysler products mated to diesel engines for several years.

The Car Connection highlights the latest Ford Focus, as an example of a dual-clutch gearbox that feels unnatural to drivers who are used to a conventional automatic transmission, though the unit is functioning as designed. Consumer Reports has cited gearbox complaints from Focus and Fiesta owners as a reason why Ford's scores have dropped on its pages in the last year.

After being further refined to suit American tastes, it's possible the new cog-swapper may be introduced in Chrysler's upcoming small car (possibly known as the Dodge Hornet) instead of first seeing duty in its range of mid-sizers.


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  • 55 Comments
      TMTexas
      • 3 Years Ago
      How anyone can fault Chrysler for taking this action is beyond me, they should be applauded. Clearly the company culture has rapidly changed in the few short years since Daimler lordship. Well done, Auburn Hills, well done. As for the DCT comments, you have to remember that most people on sites like this are enthusiasts and understand a manual trans and therefore, understand a DCT. If you're Sally Q. Carbuyer who's been behind an automatic your entire driving life, jumping to a manual trans (even though there isn't a clutch pedal, the mannerisms are the same) is a big step. It's not just take off from a dead stop, it's engine braking when you release the throttle (none of that automatic assisted coasting), the shifts are quick but perceptible unlike most automatics which you can barely feel shift. I'm not blaming the American car buying public, they just don't know. Unless you've been blessed to be driving an SMG M3, Ferrari F1 trans, Lambo e-gear, or recent VW DSG this is going to be new territory. Give it time, at least we're finally getting great transmissions paired with great engines, at long last.
      guyverfanboy
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have never driven a vehicle with a dual-clutch transmission, but good for Chrysler on waiting til they work everything out.
      Xedicon
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's great to see that when it came down to the go or no go decision point, Chrysler were honest with themselves and realized it's not polished enough. There's nothing wrong with getting a product right, there's a lot wrong with releasing a product before it is right.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      scotthureau
      • 3 Years Ago
      Mazda's SkyActive solution has received lots of praise lately. Putting a torque converter in front of a DCT seemingly solves many of the DCTs inherent drivability issues without any negatives. My guess is that the clutches will last much longer as well, not having to slip launches like a conventional DCT.
      Haub
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Avenger and the word "refinement" do not go together.
        Frank
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Haub
        Your comment is about 2 years late. After the next product cycle (another year, more or less) it won't make any sense at all.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
      poorboywrx
      • 3 Years Ago
      My brother has a Dodge caravan, told him not to get it as his previous gen one was junk, and it has a dual clutch transmission and it's buttery smooth.
        donnieorama
        • 3 Years Ago
        @poorboywrx
        My spaceship has a DCT, too--buttery smooth. Oh, and the Caravan doesn't have a DCT. Sorry.
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am GLAD to hear that they are willing to delay the introduction of a product because its not perfect, than trying to rush one to market, and then have to recall it or get bad press from a poor-shifting dual clutch transmission.... :cough: Ford, I'm looking in your direction :cough:
      mx5hong
      • 3 Years Ago
      I thought Consumer Report's issue with Ford's Power Shift transmission was it had a bad tendency to puke out its gears all over the street. If it just functions differently and feels different then it's not a reliability issue! So Chrysler is going to maybe program in more clutch slippage or something so it'll feel more like a conventional torque converter automatic? While at the same time, the extra slippage will cause the dual clutch pack to fail prematurely? *does face palm*
        Xedicon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mx5hong
        You're assuming that's the route they're going to take, but there are other ways of getting the desired refinement without just adding more slip. A change in clutch materials for example, altering the size of the clutch pack, engine management options for low speed / light acceleration engagements, etc. They haven't failed, they just haven't finished yet. How can we judge a transmission that hasn't been released yet?
          mx5hong
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Xedicon
          Of course Chrysler could go a number of routes to refine the transmission. But I hope not at the expense of reliability. When I read about Ford's Powershift having issues a while back, I thought it was complete transmission failure. But apparently the it's not. It's like the JD Powers customer satisfaction index. It really doesn't measure if your new car is going to leave you stranded b/c the engine blew it. It takes into account things like if the cup holders are functional etc. The Mini always takes a beating in that survey b/c the car has a lot of design quirks. Such as the center speedo and the placement of some controllers that customers point out in the survey.
      brmintz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Am I the only one curious as to what this even means? How does one judge a dual clutch box negatively if it operates as designed? "Wow honey these shifts are just too fast for me! I need the jolt like I had on my old Lumina to make me feel comfortable again."
        Brett Fisher
        • 3 Years Ago
        @brmintz
        Ford Focus. Low speed shifts I found to be herky-jerky and misplaced in the rev range. From a stop, the thing sat there for seconds before moving despite my foot further and further into the gas pedal until we finally roared off. Above 35mph, it worked beautifully. I intended to buy this car, but not after that. It gave me no confidence.
          Jim
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Brett Fisher
          Thanks Brett.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Brett Fisher
          [blocked]
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @brmintz
        Because a car with a DCT shuffles and bumps along at parking lot speeds. Any speed >10mph is no problem, but at low speeds and starting and stopping it's a bit jerky. A manual is also (for the same reason), but you expect it with a manual. With an automatic, people are taken aback.
          Frank
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          Anyone who has learned to drive a manual can have a very smooth launch from a standing stop. I can and I have driven everything from an old Ford van with "3 on the tree", a 4 speed Pinto, an S-10 v6 5 speed, and a Ford ZX2 5 speed (Mazda bones). If the DCT is like a person just learning stick (I can only go by what is posted here as I have not driven any) then I can see why Chrysler would like to tweek it more before offering it to their customers.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          Frank, you can launch very smoothly on a manual. However, given that having a clutch partway out wears it faster than being in or out, generally you don't do that longer clutch slip required to make it smoother and instead bump it a little. Now, on a DCT you don't have a separate pedal to manipulate to indicate whether you want ultra-smooth/wearing or normal to the car computer, so it just picks normal all the time. The same happens when braking. Since you don't have a clutch, you can't coast to a stop, you have to brake to a stop like a hydramatic transmission. So you get that slight jerk stop too. Once the DCTs are better optimized I think people will just man up and learn to deal with the slight shuffling. But perhaps they don't even need to. I think maybe a planetary transmission with a TC at very slow speeds (like Mercedes and Mazda are using) may be a better answer than a DCT for anything but track work. Cheaper, more reliable, smoother and as efficient.
        threefortyduster
        • 3 Years Ago
        @brmintz
        Have you ever driven a car with a dual clutch? Throttle engagement and take off can be very rough, and since there's no torque converter, it can let the motor rev up much higher than people are used to. I finally quit from Hertz, but I got so many complaints on the Fiesta's transmission with people saying that there's no way this trans would last 5000 miles. After explaining to them that it's not a conventional automatic, their response was always the same....well, they should tell you that, because it just doesn't feel right.
        Hazdaz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @brmintz
        Usually deals with low-speed shifts as others have mentioned. I would liken it to riding in a standard car with someone that is just learning to drive stick... the initial shifts to get going (and slow speed) can be harsh.
        FRENZIED
        • 3 Years Ago
        @brmintz
        I test drove both the Focus and the Fiesta and the DCT worked just perfectly (at all speeds). I like it. This was before all the complaints surfaced. Of course I knew what was going on, and I drove them around specifically so I could see what the DCT was like.
        Mike D
        • 3 Years Ago
        @brmintz
        I think the smoothness of the shifting is a concern. It's a complaint with ford's dual clutch.
        Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @brmintz
        I was thinking along the same lines. How does a dual clutch feel differently when it shifts vs. a conventional automatic transmission.
          JasonU2
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Jim
          In my (admittedly limited) experience, it's pretty smooth while in motion. The only real clue is a bit of takeup slack when switching between brake & applying throttle from a stop. My guess is they've misread the US market as not being...sophisticated enough to appreciate it?
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Jim
          [blocked]
      Rob
      • 3 Years Ago
      What is the big deal? I have been using a dual clutch gearbox since 2006 in my Jetta TDI. Took me all of maybe one week to get used to it. I love it, it has been great with zero problems. I will take another in my next car.
        TBN27
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rob
        Question. October 2010 I test drove an 11 Jetta SE. The dual clutch transmission didn't feel different from a conventional 6 speed. What did I miss and was it subtle that makes it different from a conventional aurltomatic? I know that it the shifts were quick and refined. Almost bought the car but, I couldn't spot a difference. Literal question and need to know.
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