Making competition pay off for two rivals.
The Ford Motor Company and the General Motors Company are industry adversaries, but not always. In the mid-2000s, the two companies collaborated on transmissions, enabling both companies to produce the six-speed gearboxes now widely used by the two car manufacturers.
GM and Ford will once again be putting their differences to the side to collaborate on a new generation of transmissions. On Monday, the two companies announced that new 9- and 10-speed automatic transmissions will be jointly developed, and used in a variety of vehicles including pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, crossover utility vehicles and cars.
Both companies will benefit from sharing the costs associated with building advanced technologies enabling each automaker to field vehicles that are more fuel efficient and perform better. At present, no car manufacturer offers more gears than eight, enabling both companies to raise that standard.
Said Jim Lanzon, GM vice president of global transmission engineering. “We expect these new transmissions to raise the standard of technology, performance and quality for our customers while helping drive fuel economy improvements into both companies’ future product portfolios.”
Although the transmissions will include identical hardware, each company will use its own control software. That software enables manufacturers to achieve the performance goals established for the respective model.
Ford GM collaborate and GM both issued press releases announcing the collaboration, with each company citing the success of previous projects including the now current six-speed transmissions. Said Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of powertrain engineering, “Our front-wheel-drive transmissions have exceeded expectations and there is every reason to believe we will have the same success with these all-new transmissions.”
The current crop of transmissions can be found in the Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Edge and Chevrolet Traverse among other models.
Each manufacturer will handle production at its own plants and, of course, the Ford v. Chevy battle will continue despite these commonalities.
GM and Ford collaborating to this degree would have been unthinkable a generation ago. Back then, it wasn’t so much that the two companies wouldn’t have worked together if possible, rather the US Justice Department might have stepped in and blocked it over antitrust concerns. However, with the auto industry now vastly changed as foreign makes have turned a toehold into a stronghold, those antitrust concerns have largely disappeared.
See Also — Ford, GM to Collaborate on Transmissions