Nair: Ford Considering CVTs For Future Applications

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
nair ford considering cvts for future applications

Ford is considering giving the B&B’s least favorite transmission type another go for future applications.

Automotive News reports global product development boss Raj Nair said as much during a media event in Detroit. Though Ford hasn’t had much success with CVTs in the past — the last models to use the transmission were the Five Hundred, Freestyle and Mercury Montego back in 2007 — the automaker is “taking another look, particularly in low torque applications” such as the Fiesta SFE, whose 1-liter EcoBoost is only available with a manual transmission.

As for where Ford will get its new CVTs, Nair didn’t say if the transmission type would be made in-house or obtained from a supplier, as was the case with ZF Friedrichshafen AG in 2007.

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  • Redav Redav on Dec 09, 2014

    I'll rock the boat a bit and say that the transmission I prefer most a one-speed attached to an electric motor. The only reason we have transmissions at all is because the engine doesn't have the combo of operating range (particularly at ultra low speeds) & torque to power a vehicle across its whole speed range. The transmission is a band aid to address that shortcoming.

    • See 1 previous
    • Luke42 Luke42 on Dec 09, 2014

      I realized the same thing after I started test driving EVs. And I realize it again every time I get a rough shift in a conventional car.... I want an EV, but a full plate require that I wait a bit longer.

  • George B George B on Dec 09, 2014

    I'm starting to appreciate the CVT in my 2014 Accord. Achieves excellent fuel economy in actual suburban traffic while being reasonably responsive to accelerator pedal inputs. Probably the right choice for a car primarily used for commuting.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Dec 09, 2014

      George B, there's no doubt that CVTs are the wave of the future. But we should all hope that some day soon they will have improved to the same level of reliability as the hydraulic step automatics are today. My experience with CVTs goes back to 1972 and the old DAF cars that were touted as the new, improved VW Bug. Turned out, the CVT was the weakest link of the car. Maybe metallurgy and hydraulic-cone technology have improved by now.

  • Frantz Frantz on Dec 09, 2014

    I feel like either CVT or Powershift would be a fine transmission if they just stuck with one and improved it over time. We have a Powershift '14 Focus and haven't had any issues with it, though we are past the build dates of the original seal that seems to have caused issues in early ones. For my Fiesta, I opted for the 5spd manual, really it wasn't an option for me. I did have to dealer trade for it, we don't order many manuals for our stock. To get a fully loaded Titanium you'd almost have to factory order, and you might as well if you're spending the extra money, get what you want.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Dec 11, 2014

    Good! Nissan extracts astonishing real-world highway MPG from the Altima simply by using a CVT. This enables them to keep using a very big non-turbo 4-cylinder, which -- compared to an alternative MPG strategy, the Fusion's 1.5 liter turbo four -- is less expensive to build, buy, maintain, and repair, and is more responsive from a dead stop as well. Put both strategies together, though -- Ford's tiny turbomotors and a decent CVT -- and you'd surely see some impressive MPGs. Like others, I've had delightful experiences with eCVTs in hybrids, and conventional CVTs in Nissan products (in the Altima more so than the Maxima).