The high-tech gearbox will start in the company's small carsEnlarge Photo
In its quest for improved fuel economy, Ford has adopted a strategy of replacing its aging transmission designs with more efficient ones. The Blue Oval plans to add new smooth-shifting six-speed ‘boxes to more than half of its North American product lineup, including the new 2009 Ford F-150.
Later this year, Ford will begin producing a new fuel-saving, FWD six-speed transmission for use first in the 2009 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner, which goes on sale this summer. The new transmissions deliver 4 to 6% improvements in fuel efficiency on average compared with typical four- and five-speed gearboxes. Ford’s design features a higher than normal top gear for fuel-efficient cruising.
Beyond the new automatics, Ford will also add its dual-clutch Powershift transmission to a number of North American models with the first cars to be equipped with the fuel-saving gearbox due next year. Powershift has already shown to improve fuel-economy by 10% in the European Focus range and similar savings are expected for American models.