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Electronics & Test
Ford, GM Team Up on Transmissions
10/10/2012

General Motors currently builds eight-speed automatics at its assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio. The new agreement will enable them to build nine- and 10-speed transmissions.   (Source: General Motors)
General Motors currently builds eight-speed automatics at its assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio. The new agreement will enable them to build nine- and 10-speed transmissions.
(Source: General Motors)

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Beth Stackpole
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Co-opetition at its finest?
Beth Stackpole   10/10/2012 7:25:50 AM
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At first blush, it seems strange to me that rivals Ford and GM would team up on a development effort that has such a major impact on each of their futures. Yet I suppose, given the seriousness of the new fuel economy standards, automotive OEMs are better served pooling their collective brain power and development resources  to come up with some core foundational technology solution to the challenge in a much shorter time frame. Then they can refine/extend/improve the technology to differentiate their individual product lines when and where it makes sense.

naperlou
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Re: Co-opetition at its finest?
naperlou   10/10/2012 11:04:34 AM
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Beth, yes, these two are competitors.  Since CAFE applies to everyone, and since the time scale is short, it makes sense.  They don't do it often. 

What is interesting is that I was just talking about this type of thing with my younger son.  My car is 10 years old and has a four speed.  My wife just bought a car with a six speed.  Both have the auto-stick feature.  I was making him aware that the first automatic transmissions had two speeds.  That is the genesis of PRNDL.  L was for low.  The new car has PRNDS.  The S is for second.  Quite a lot of progress.  Of course, we are getting close to the continuously variable transmission.  This is doable, but very expensive.

Charles Murray
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Re: Co-opetition at its finest?
Charles Murray   10/10/2012 5:49:43 PM
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Beth, I agree that it seems strange. I don't know much about antitrust law and can't explain why such collusion is allowed in this case, but there's definitely precedent for it. GM and Ford did it a decade ago and then again about four years ago. Other auto companies, such as Audi, BMW and Toyota, use external suppliers.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Co-opetition at its finest?
Rob Spiegel   10/10/2012 6:15:49 PM
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You're right, Chuck, there is a long history of automakers sharing technology developments. Automakers also share lobbying efforts. While it may seem odd -- or collusive -- for competitors to share development, well, they are under some heavy pressure to deliver the CAFE standards they're facing. I would imagine the government would be supportive of this type of sharing, since it is directly related to heavy government demands.

TJ McDermott
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Other ramifications
TJ McDermott   10/11/2012 12:59:33 AM
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A higher speed count means better mileage - ok, I save some money on gas.  What other cost ramifications will impact us?  How much more will the transmissions cost - how much will they add to the sticker price?

How much more likely will they be to fail, and what cost to repair?

If we can get to all-electric vehicles (darn battery storage!) then this wouldn't be necessary; variable frequency drives give the infinitely adjustable speed control.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Other ramifications
Beth Stackpole   10/11/2012 7:01:53 AM
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@TJ: Still think it's necessary since there is no way there will be a singular shift to pure electric even with stable and formidible battery technology. There definitely still needs to be choice and this type of intra-industry sharing of R&D makes perfect sense in terms of bettering the choices.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Other ramifications
Beth Stackpole   10/11/2012 7:03:25 AM
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@TJ: Still think it's necessary since there is no way there will be a singular shift to pure electric even with stable and formidible battery technology. There definitely still needs to be choice and this type of intra-industry sharing of R&D makes perfect sense in terms of bettering the choices.

Ggarnier
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GM's current eight-speed transmission
Ggarnier   10/11/2012 9:51:12 AM
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"GM has been building eight-speed automatic transmissions at its assembly plant in Toldeo, Ohio, but none of those transmissions are yet offered in current vehicles."

Is this pilot production for development and test purposes? If not, where are these transmissions going?

ChasChas
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Re: Co-opetition at its finest?
ChasChas   10/11/2012 10:03:28 AM
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naperlou, my 2007 Ford Five Hundred has a continuously varible transmission. It's here already. Does anyone know why was it was discontinued? 

BigDipper
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Re: Co-opetition at its finest?
BigDipper   10/11/2012 10:16:21 AM
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naperlou,

Just about every hybrid being produced today has a CVT along with cars from Audi, Suburu, Nissan, and Mitsuibishi, to name a few more.  One plus for the CVT in slightly better fuel economy than with a "normal" automatic.

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