The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid and Ford with partner with General Motors on new transmission technology. Has anyone dusted off that old Mayan calendar lately? We're not sure that a Ford/GM tech share speaks to the end of days, but we're not ruling it out, either.
Seriously though, Detroit's two heavyweights, companies that have battled each other since the dawn of the automobile (or close, anyway) are in discussions about working jointly on some very aggressive new transmission projects in the name lessening development costs for each. It's not the first time the two automakers have teamed up on transmissions, hyperbole to the contrary, either.
If all goes to plan, Automotive News says GM will be taking the lead on a nine-speed cogswapper that will be used in front-wheel-drive applications. Ford, meanwhile, will be working on a 10-speed transmission that will find a home in rear-drive products, namely trucks and performance vehicles.
The goal of the new transmission technologies – both automatics, by the way – is twofold: greater fuel economy and a more refined driving experience. The "refinement" here has to do with less noise and vibration, most likely, as the many-ratio transmissions have to rev less than they would with fewer forward gears.
The new technology is seen as must-have for the domestic automakers, both of which are hoping to catch up with a competitive set that is now offering seven-, eight- and nine-speed transmissions. Crosstown rival Chrysler, for instance, has worked with German transmission specialist ZF to put an eight-speed auto in its 300 sedan, and has plans to introduce a nine-speed affair sometime in the near future.