Chrysler says its new eight-speed automatic transmission will boost fuel economy

Article by Christian A., on September 4, 2011

Chrysler Group’s new eight-speed automatic transmission will be the first to be offered on automobiles that had been built domestically. As a result, its two full-sized, rear-drive sedans will have better fuel economy and lower emissions. In a statement, Chrysler said that the transmission will initially be offered on 2012 Chrysler 300s and Dodge Chargers that are powered by Chrysler's Pentastar V-6 engine that delivers up to 292 hp of motive power.

Chrysler spokesman Vince Muniga has announced that these cars are in production and are expected to begin arriving in dealerships on Oct. 1, 2011.

Cars with the new transmission will come with a $1,000 premium, says AutoWeek. A price tag of $28,995 has been attached to an entry-level Chrysler 300 with the eight-speed transmission. Meanwhile, the Dodge Charger SE is priced at $27,320. Destination charges are included in these prices. These two cars will be offered with a five-speed for $1,000 less.

Chrysler claims that the estimated highway fuel economy for the two cars will increase by 15 percent to 31 mpg. But when it comes to estimated city fuel economy, the figures are expected to increase to 19 mpg, higher by 5 percent when compared to the 2011 versions of the cars, which had been equipped with a five-speed automatic.

In addition, Chrysler and Dodge will offer eight-speed, all-wheel-drive versions of the 300 and the Charger. These cars will come with paddle shifters on the V-6 and V-8 models.

Chrysler’s license for the eight-speed transmission comes from German supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG, which builds eight-speeds for luxury brands like Audi, Bentley, BMW, Range Rover and Rolls-Royce.

Initially, the transmission is imported from ZF in Germany but by next year, Chrysler will start to build the eight-speed gearbox in Kokomo, Ind. Chrysler expects to beat domestic rivals by offering an eight-speed transmission, which is intended for rear-drive configurations with longitudinally mounted engines.

For the 2012 model year, Chrysler has expanded its 300 lineup to six models -- 300, 300 Limited, 300C, 300C AWD, 300 Touring and 300 SRT8 – with the aiming of raising the excitement, boosting its appeal to younger consumers and increasing sales. Chrysler has cited buyer lifestyles for its decision to expand its 300 lineup.

The Chrysler 300, which was first launched as a 2005 model, went mostly unrevised through 2010. That is likely because the car peaked in 2005 with sales of 144,068 units. In 2010, Chrysler sold 37,116 cars of the full-sized sedan, standing for a decrease of 4 percent from the previous year.

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