Chrysler nixes dual-clutch plans for 2011 over refinement concerns

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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