Dual-clutch transmissions have so far been primarily restricted to cars from the VW group or expensive sports and luxury cars, with little trickle-down to the ranks of the econobox and people-mover. That’s set to change, thanks to transmission specialist BorgWarner.

The Michigan company thinks it can turn out as many as 2.3million units of the new, low-cost transmission by 2013. A lofty goal, for sure, but such volume will definitely help to keep per-unit costs down. The new system, named DualTronic, will help BorgWarner reach its goal of increasing transmission production by 500%, reports Automotive News Europe. The company claims the new transmissions will be cost competitive with the latest 6sp automatic transmissions, however will likely still remain more expensive than the 4sp and 5sp gearboxes still common on the cheapest cars.

The dual-clutch system allows gear shifts to be completed without interrupting power to the tires, by preselecting the next gear while the current gear is still engaged. The performance benefits are obvious, which is why the system has proliferated in the sports and luxury categories. However, many makers see its 13% efficiency advantage over regular automatics as relevant to the low-cost car segment as well, especially for the burgeoning small-car markets in India and China.

The first prototypes of the new transmission are in test cars now.