The Chrysler Group is set to introduce nine-speed automatic transmissions in its cars this year. Autonews reports that the Fiat-owned American company may have as many as 200,000 units of the ZF 9HP gearbox that will eventually go in three new models.
They are the successor to the Jeep Liberty, the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan and the Dodge Dart compact sedan, CEO Sergio Marchionne revealed in Detroit. The nine-speed transmission is the “future of the front- wheel drive and all-wheel drive world for Chrysler,” added Marchionne, who is also Fiat boss.
It has been said that Marchionne is relying on Chrysler to offset Fiat’s losses in crisis-hit Europe. The sharp-looking Dodge Dart’s debut last year was hampered by powertrain choices – the Alfa Giulietta-based sedan was initially shipped with only a manual, before a Fiat-sourced six-speed dual-clutch transmission joined. DCTs are popular in Europe, but less so in America. The nine-speed auto addresses this.
Once in trouble, the Chrysler Group is doing surprisingly well in America. While analysts expected the company to lose market share, Chrysler’s annual sales jumped more than any major automaker other than Toyota and Honda last year – US sales rose 21% to 1.65 million units.