Ford Moving to Six-Speed Automatics

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson
ford moving to six speed automatics

The AP (via NPR) reports that Ford plans to put six-speed automatic transmissions (AT) into 98 percent of its North American vehicles by 2012. Ford's seductively-named "6F35" transmission is the technological fruit of a $720m joint development effort between Ford and GM. Ford claims the new automatics– debuting in the ‘09 Escape and Mercury and Lincoln clones– offer four to six percent better fuel economy than their current four- and five-speed equivalents. Craig Renneker, Ford's chief engineer for the slushboxes, admits that "these technologies are all about fuel economy." No, wait! Ford VP Barb Samardzich is a bit more PR-savvy: "They also deliver improved acceleration and smoother shifting," she adds. [s]Anyway, you can thank the 35mpg fleet average CAFÉ standards for the additional cog.[/s] "With today's high gas prices, the decision to deploy these across virtually

the entire Ford lineup comes at a good time."

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  • RobertSD RobertSD on May 08, 2008

    I get 439,000 for Toyota, and they have far less history than either Ford or GM. 489,000 for Honda! If we're going to talk truth here, let's hear the whole truth. The Ford/GM JV tranny has yet to suffer a recall and certainly is not as bad as Toyota's 6-speed effort that destroyed their vaunted quality image in the eyes of CR.

  • Raast Raast on May 08, 2008

    Alltheweb searches... Well I was being very general. I didn't get into C3 & C5 etc "slips into reverse without warning" or 4l60e issues, but I sure could. And the incentive between the joint venture of two competitors is ... survival? Sure hope the commonality of all the parts schemes work out. Martian Lander metric vs imperial anyone?

  • Offroadinfrontier Offroadinfrontier on May 08, 2008

    I agree with the CVT/DSG approach. Throw CVTs on the itsy-bitsy engines that really need to stay at peak power (IE my xA). Put the DSG on everything else. I love the efficiency of a manual transmission - the same engine and transmission combo can realistically give great acceleration or good gas mileage when configured properly. Throw in self-shifting with dual clutches, and I'm sold.. What are the weight differences betw. the CVTs and DSGs? I love the idea of CVTs keeping the engine at optimal power while requiring no shifting (honestly I loved the CVT versa's powertrain, all things considered). The idea of a manual with that many gears being self-shifted is awesome - my only question is how long the clutches last. With 2 clutches and super-efficient shifts, I'd imagine them lasting at LEAST 2x as long as a normal manual, and it isn't hard to come across a Nissan or Honda with 100K+ miles and stock clutch.. while on the other hand, CVTs have about 5 years of modern "history"...

  • Cudlecub Cudlecub on May 09, 2008

    Regardless of how many gears it has, it would still be a ford.