Detroit, Michigan – Transmission manufacturer ZF has announced the world’s first nine-speed automatic passenger car transmission for front-wheel drive vehicles. The transmission will be produced in a new facility that will be built near Greenville, South Carolina.

“Already a leader in technically-advanced, fuel-saving multi-speed transmissions for rear-drive vehicles, ZF’s new nine-speed enables significant fuel economy improvements and delivers excellent performance characteristics for front-wheel drive vehicles,” said Hans-Georg Harter, president and CEO of ZF.

The company will break ground for the new South Carolina factory next month and will later announce applications for the new transmission.

Similar to ZF’s eight-speed automatic transmission, used in rear-drive platforms, the new nine-speed delivers extremely short response and shifting times that are below the threshold of perception, the company said, enabling double-shifts and direct multiple gearshifts without driver or passenger noticing.

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