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Chrysler introduces 8-speed auto


Chrysler will introduce a new 8-speed automatic transmission on its large cars and SUVs, and New Zealand will be one of the countries to receive the technology

Chrysler has announced a US$300 million investment plan to build the advanced transmission at a plant in Indiana, with the first products due in 2013.

The deal signed with ZF of Germany includes the ability to import fully-built transmissions to fit to Chrysler Group vehicles before that date.

It means Chrysler will be the first US auto maker to introduce 8-speed transmissions to its vehicles, and one of just a handful of elite car companies worldwide to use this feature – currently 8-speed transmissions are restricted to high-end prestige models, such as BMW’s 7-series.

Expect to see the new 8-speed auto fitted to future Chrysler 300C, Dodge Charger/Challenger and Jeep Grand Cherokee models.

Chrysler says the new 8-speed auto takes up no more space than a 6-speed transmission, yet it is lighter and delivers 6% better fuel economy. Against 5-speed automatics that are widely used by car companies around the world, the fuel economy difference is around 14%.

“It’s a very exciting development because it puts Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles right at the forefront of new technology development,” says Todd Groves, Divisional Manager, Chrysler Group at Sime Darby Automobiles NZ.

“An 8-speed automatic transmission will be much smoother and quieter, as well as more fuel efficient than current generation automatics.

“It’s a good indication of the progress Chrysler is making and the confidence being shown in the future of our brands and products.”

Chrysler says that by 2014 the investment in new technology and the introduction of new vehicles will enable the company to reduce the overall fuel consumption across the range by 25%.

By the end of 2013 it aims to completely renew every vehicle in its range and introduce a number of exciting new designs.

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