Five years ago, Ford and General Motors signed a deal that would see the two automakers develop two transmissions designed to improve the fuel economy of their vehicles.
Ford’s side of the deal was to develop a 10-speed automatic transmission for use rear-wheel drive applications such as trucks, while GM would design and build a 9-speed automatic for front-wheel drive vehicles. The Ford-developed 10-speed transmission is currently being used by both automakers, but Ford isn’t interested in using the 9-speed that GM has made, according to Automotive News.
Ford has decided that GM’s 9-speed doesn’t offer enough of a fuel efficiency improvement over a comparable 8-speed unit to justify having the additional weight of an extra gear. As such, it has elected to use three different eight-speed transmissions in its place. One of the eight-speed units will be based off GM’s nine-speed but will ditch one gear, while a second will be for performance applications such as the Edge ST. A third eight-speed will be used for economy cars like the new Focus, for example.
Before AN’s report surfaced, it wasn’t widely known that Ford had elected not to use GM’s 9-speed. However Ford decided not to use the transmission before GM started using it on production vehicles – probably sometime in 2016. The 9-speed is currently offered on certain versions of the Chevrolet Equinox, Malibu and Cruze.
Ford’s new eight-speed will soon appear on the 2019 Transit Connect, along with the Edge crossover and the Lincoln Nautilus.
a version of this article first appeared on AutoGuide