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On September 23, Automotive News reported that Chrysler had idled the second shift workers it hired just five weeks prior at its Toledo Assembly Complex to build the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. At the time, Chrysler said it had "built the critical number of vehicles we need to stock dealerships once containment is released" and did not want "to put additional strain on our logistics partners ... upon release." That reasoning was not only unusual, it didn't seem to make sense.

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Lincoln is in serious need of some relevant products, and it looks like help is on the way. In addition to the MKC crossover, which we are almost certain to see in production form this auto show season, Ford's luxury arm is also working on the next-gen MKS sedan to go on sale in 2015 for the 2016 model year.

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Earlier this week, we heard that Mercedes-Benz will be introducing its nine-speed automatic transmission in Europe, but while this 9G-Tronic will first launch over there in the E-Class, we'll get our first crack at this gearbox in the 2015 CLS-Class. According to Edmunds, the nine-speed CLS will go on sale in the US next fall before eventually spreading to almost all other Mercedes models, but there is no word as to when this would occur.

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In 2011, Chrysler announced a $72-million investment in its Toledo Machining Plant to modernize production of the eight- and nine-speed torque-converters for automatic transmissions made there. That upgrade work won't be finished until Q3 of this year, but Chrysler has already announced a further $19.6-million investment to increase production capacity for the nine-speeders.

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Back in October, there were reports that General Motors and Ford Motor Company were hard at work co-developing new nine- and ten-speed automatic transmissions, and now both automakers have confirmed this joint operation. While there are no specific vehicles mentioned to receive either transmission, a collaborative press release issued by GM and Ford mention that the transmission will be designed for front- and rear-wheel-drive cars, crossovers, trucks and SUVs.

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Among the future shocks to be shown at the rapidly approaching Geneva Motor Show, Land Rover will be displaying a nine-speed transmission it has been working with ZF to develop. Engineered for transverse – read: usually front-wheel drive – applications, the ZF 9HP will replace the six-speed transmission in the Evoque come 2014.

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Striving for improved fuel economy, we already knew that Chrysler will begin using a nine-speed automatic transmission in some of its new products this year, but what we haven't known is that volume at which this gearbox will be used. According to Bloomberg, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been quoted as saying that the automaker expects to sell close to 200,000 units equipped with this new transmission in 2013. Those gear-rich trannies will be spread out across three models, consisting of th

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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.

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When it comes to adding transmission gears to boost fuel economy, Chrysler figures the more the merrier. For now.

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This week at the Detroit Auto Show, ZF announced that it's forging forward with plans to produce a nine-speed automatic transmission for front-wheel-drive vehicles. The ZF-developed nine-speed tranny incorporates advanced technology that, aside from enhancing the performance of front-wheel-drive vehicles, will apparently cut down on fuel usage.

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Did your favorite brand just move to six-speed automatics? Are you already cruising along happily in seventh gear or perhaps you're enjoying the scenery with your transmission lazily churning in eighth. Well move over because ZF is getting ready to produce a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

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