GM reveals new 9-speed transmission built in San Luis Potosi

GM reveals new 9-speed transmission built in San Luis Potosi

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General Motors revealed details about a new built-in-San Luis Potosi nine-speed automatic transmission which will be offered as an option on 10 different models by the end of 2017.

The transmission improves fuel economy about 2% in a wide range of vehicles, GM transmission engineering director Chris Meagher said.

The gearbox gets most of its fuel-efficiency improvement from allowing the engine to run at its most efficient level more of the time. The transmission stayed in ninth gear up to 52% of the time in fuel-economy tests, engineer Scott Kline said.

Despite having 50% more gears, the transmission fits in about the same space under the hood as the six-speed GM has built for 10 years. It weighs 22 pounds more. Eighth and ninth gears are both overdrives. GM holds 60 patents on systems in the transmission.

The transmission is already on 2017 Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedans with 2.0-liter turbocharged engines. It will be available on Chevrolet Cruze compact with diesel engines early in 2017, and on the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox compact SUV later next year.

At least 10 GM vehicles will be using the transmission by the end of 2017, that’s why it’s likely to become one of its best-selling gearboxes. It works with both front- and all-wheel-drive vehicles. 

The only other nine-speed automatics on the market have been criticized for rough shifts and software glitches in Jeep and Honda vehicles. Those transmissions share nothing but the number of gears they offer with the new GM gearbox, which uses all different parts, electronics and controls.

GM builds the nine-speed at the same plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The same plant produces its six-speed automatic.

The company will keep the six-speed in production for vehicles in the U.S. and around the world as long demand warrants, Meagher said.


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