A number of carmakers have leapt to the forefront in gearbox technology by contracting automotive parts suppliers to design and engineer advanced dual-clutch transmissions for their cars. While some companies like Volkswagen and BMW have developed their own dual-clutch gearboxes, others, such as Nissan and Chrysler, have partnered with transmission specialists like BorgWarner and Getrag to source their units.

Mercedes Benz is likely to go with the first option - designing and manufacturing its own dual-clutch transmission completely in-house. Last year it was reported that Mercedes was considering closing its Zuffenhausen plant in Germany and outsourcing production of its next-generation transmissions, however latest reports indicate the carmaker is in negotiations with unions to build the gearboxes at its Hedelfingen plant.

Automotive News Europe is reporting that Mercedes needs to convince union officials at its current Untertürkheim transmission plant to allow the contract for the dual clutch gearboxes to be sent to Hedelfingen, which has recently been refurbished and has idle capacity. A tentative agreement was reportedly signed on Friday but no official announcement has been made yet.

The new Mercedes dual-clutch gearbox is expected to feature eight speeds as well as engine stop-start and hybrid compatibility.

At the same time, Mercedes is also seeking a supplier for a new eight-speed automatic gearbox to match Lexus. Germany’s ZF has developed a new eight-speed auto but the gearbox is still more than a year away from production and no carmakers have announced plans to use it yet.