Chrysler names Jeffrey Lux as new transmission powertrain chief

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 21, 2014

Chrysler Group has appointed Jeffrey Lux as its new head of transmission powertrain effective immediately, replacing Mircea Gradu. Lux is now responsible for the design, development and release of all Chrysler transmission and driveline systems. According to his LinkedIn profile, Lux was chief engineer for General Motors’ hybrid electric drive units in 2009 and 2010.

He then became vice president of powertrain engineering for GM in Europe. He has a business degree from Michigan State University and mechanical engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell University.

Gradu left Chrysler on Jan. 15. Gradu and his team were responsible for the operation and calibrations of the nine-speed transmission and disconnecting awd system employed on the 2014 Jeep Cherokee.

The vehicle’s launch was delayed by two months until late October as Chrysler needs to recalibrate the system’s software to make it work flawlessly. Lux will report to Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne. Chrysler’s top man reiterated last week the carmaker commitment to its innovative nine-speed automatic transmission, despite launch issues last year.

“The nine-speed transmission is the shortest, most complex transmission you can buy in the marketplace. It has a number of wonderful attributes, but one of things that is not so wonderful is the fact that it’s new,” Marchionne said. Chrysler intends to use the nine-speed gearbox in all of its planned future front-wheel-drive vehicles, including the 2015 Chrysler 200 and the Jeep Renegade.

“The commitment continues to bring about improvements in the nine-speed, and we recognize the fact that we keep on getting better at this,” Marchionne said. “Some technical changes will already be made by the time [the 200] gets launched, and we’ll continue to make changes going forward.”

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