http://wot.motortrend.com/6656095/indus ... index.html
Chrysler LLC has signed a deal with ZF Group to supply rear-wheel-drive Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles with 62TE eight-speed automatic transmissions. Under the agreement, ZF will supply the cars and trucks from Saarbrucken, Germany, until 2013. Chrysler will spend $300 million to upgrade its Kokomo, Indiana, casting plant where it will build the eight-speed under license with ZF from '13 on.
The deal means Chrysler gets a much-needed upgrade on its automatic transmissions. It has only a five-speed automatic currently, for models like its all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The deal is likely a reaction to General Motors' rumored development of an eight-speed automatic to replace six-speed automatics in its longitude-engine cars and trucks.
While neither ZF nor Chrysler described which models will get the new transmission, ZF acknowledged the eight-speed is for rear-drive, longitudinal engine vehicles (packaging eight speeds for transverse engines is still a tight fit). Depending on how quickly ZF begins sourcing the transmission from Germany, it could be ready in time for the launch of the 2011 Chrysler 300 expected for later this year, and the all-new Dodge Charger, probably a 2012 model launching a few months later.
The eight-speed also could be added to the Dodge Challenger, which is on the 300/Charger's LX platform. The new sedans switch to an updated LY platform.
It's also likely that the transmission will be available for one engine variant of these models until Chrysler begins producing the transmission under license in Kokomo. There are good reasons for choosing the new, Pentastar DOHC V-6 that will be the volume engine in the 300, Charger and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The costs of certifying either the V-6 or Hemi V-8 are considerable. Because Chrysler listed the Ram pickup brand as among the recipients, however, it appears likely the transmission will launch first on models with the optional Hemi V-8.
So expect the '11 Chrysler 300C and '12 Dodge Charger with Hemi V-8s to get the ZF 62TE eight-speed either at launch or shortly after. The transmission probably will be added to the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and to the Ram 1500 Hemi pickup, and possibly the Dodge Challenger, as a running change before the end of 2011. The investment in the Kokomo plant, which will add 1,200 jobs, indicates that by calendar '13, Pentastar V-6 versions of these cars and trucks will add the eight-speed automatic for smoother power delivery and better fuel economy.
We have "only" a five speed automatic right now?
How long before we "only" have the eight speeds?
Is CVT technology really that weak we can't use it?