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Chrysler Going Mainstream with 8-Speed; 9-Speed Automatic Coming

New gearboxes cut “a chunk” out of fuel consumption.

by on Sep.01, 2011

V-6 versions of the 2012 Dodge Charger will get the new 8-speed gearbox, as will the V-6 Chrysler 300.

Chrysler will become the first automaker to go mainstream with a fuel-saving 8-speed automatic gearbox, but TheDetroitBureau.com has learned the Detroit maker is also developing an even more efficient 9-speed transmission.

Automakers are searching frantically for ways to improve mileage as they struggle to meet the 35.5 mpg fuel economy target for 2016 – and the 54.5 mpg standard recently enacted for 2025.  While all sorts of advanced – and expensive – options are under study, makers like Chrysler have realized they can achieve significant efficiencies simply improving the transmissions already found in every car on the road.

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The new Chrysler 8-speed will debut on the V-6 versions of the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300.  They will deliver a full 4 mile per gallon increase in highway mileage, boosting the Dodge sedan to 31 mpg on the highway.

“That’s a chunk,” said Chrysler spokesman Vince Muniga, who also confirmed that “We’re working on a 9-speed” automatic gearbox that is expected to be even more efficient.