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.
- 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.
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."