According to new information complied by the research firm CSM Worldwide; six-speed automatics will be the norm for domestic manufactures by 2015. Currently, the standard four-speed automatic has dominated the marketplace for the past several years, but as fuel efficiency becomes more of a factor in consumer purchases, the addition of two more gears will become a necessity to remain competitive.

The research is centered around Ford and General Motor's plans for auto-offerings over the next decade, with three-quarters of GM's lineup to be equipped by 2012 and half of Ford's fleet rolling with six-speeds by 2015. Fuel consumption is said to decrease between four and eight percent on vehicles equipped with the new gearbox.

Many other brands, including Toyota and Chrysler have six-speed automatics already in the works or currently on the road, with Toyota's luxury brand, Lexus, stuffing eight speeds into its new LS460 luxo-barge.

Interestingly, CSM expects a very small (one to five percent) increase in the use of continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) over the same time period.

[Source: Edmund's Inside Line]

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