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Gearing Up: New GM/Ford 10-Speed Automatic Part of Transmission Revolution

How many gears are too many?

by on Oct.03, 2012

The 2013 Lexus LS is one of a growing number of vehicles with advanced 8-speed automatics.

General Motors and Ford have confirmed they will jointly develop a new generation of fuel-efficient automatic gearboxes. What they aren’t saying is that the new transmissions will use as many as nine and even 10 different gears in an effort to minimize fuel-consumption, about twice the number of gear ratios used in most of today’s automatics.

While it’s common to have a 21-speed bicycle and most big 18-wheel trucks use nearly as many speeds, the transmissions Ford and GM will develop are a significant step beyond what was normally considered necessary in the automotive environment. And that underscores the pressure manufacturers are feeling as they face the 37.5 mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard going into effect in 2016 and the 54.5 CAFE rules to follow in 2025.

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But is there a point of diminishing returns?

“Ford and GM have a very successful history in designing and jointly producing automatic transmissions,” a Ford spokesman told, adding that, “We can confirm…that we have signed an MOU (a Memo of Understanding) to jointly collaborate in the development of a variety of all-new, fuel-efficient transmissions.”


First Look: 2012 Porsche 911

Rebirth of a legend.

by on Sep.13, 2011

Look familiar? No surprise as Porsche rolls out the 2012 911 Carrera and Carrera S.

What to do with an icon like the Porsche 911.  Fact is it’s been around for nearly half a century and still looks surprisingly much like it did when it first debuted.  And so it will still once the new 2012 model – which debuted today at the Frankfurt Motor Show – rolls into showrooms.

Not to say the updated sports car is just more of the same.  There are some nice, if subtle, tweaks to the new 911’s design – though one of the biggest changes is the availability of a new 7-speed manual gearbox.

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“This car embodies the core values for the brand,” explained CEO Matthias Muller, almost as an apologia for the evolution-over-revolution approach to the new 911’s design.  But he also stressed that it’s not all about tradition, it’s also “the ability to look forward.”