November 21, 2003

Ford developing new transmissions

Detroit, Michigan – Ford is revamping its automatic transmission lineup and by 2008 more than 60 percent of its transmissions in North America will be all new.

“We are putting an intense focus on transmissions at Ford Motor Company,” said Phil Yuhasz,
Chief Engineer, Automatic Transmissions. “With the introduction of a new TorqShift 5-speed automatic, CVTs in 2004 and soon after new rear-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive 6-speed automatics, we expect that 60 percent of our transmission lineup in North America will be all new by 2008.

Ford is working on new automatic transmission architectures that have a wider ratio span between the highest and lowest gear ratios, making better use of engine power and helping to improve fuel efficiency. At the same time, Ford is working to improve virtually all of its existing transmissions.

Ford is also working together with General Motors to develop a high-volume, front-drive 6-speed automatic transmission with an estimated 4 percent to 8 percent improvement in fuel economy over 4-speed automatics. “What we are trying to do with the new vehicles we introduce is to maximize our impact in improving fuel efficiency thereby reducing CO2 emissions as well,” said Jim Padilla, Ford Motor Company executive vice president and president of the Americas.

These new transmissions offer significant fuel economy benefits, as well as smoother operation and performance feel, for greater customer satisfaction, said the company.

In addition, numerous efficiency improvements – including enhanced torque converter lock-up, new electronic control systems and reduced parasitic losses – will be applied to all existing Ford transmissions to maximize the amount of engine power delivered to the vehicle and to improve their shift quality and durability.

“Today less than one percent of all vehicles sold in North America have 6-speed automatics, so this is a unique transmission,” said Dave Szczupak, vice president, Powertrain Operations, Ford Motor Company. “By 2010, 15 to 20 percent of vehicles sold in North America will have 6-speeds, and by 2015 it will be about 50 percent. Twenty-five years ago, the average American was driving a car with a 3-speed automatic.”

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