By on July 8, 2019

ZF Friedrichshafen has agreed to supply Fiat Chrysler with its second-largest order to date. While top honors belong to BMW, FCA will be using the same eight-speed automatic transmissions sourced for the Bavarian-based applications. “Optimized for electrification” as per ZF’s press announcement, the gearboxes are designed for longitudinally mounted engines ⁠— including those utilizing hybrid systems. 

The updated 8HP transmissions work for rear and all-wheel drive vehicles and will assuredly been seen on both within FCA’s lineup. While we don’t yet know how many of those will be hybrid-ready, ZF told Automotive News that a sizable number with integrated electric drives have been earmarked for automaker.

From Automotive News:

ZF executives would not be precise about the size of the agreement, saying only that it was “not too far away” from the value of the BMW order, which had a value of “double digit billion euros” over the contract’s lifespan.

“This is our second major order for the 8HP,” ZF CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider said in a statement, using the company’s internal code for the transmission,” and it confirms our strategy to focus on plug-in hybrids.”

ZF said the order would include a “significant share” of hybrid transmissions. ZF is hoping that strong demand for hybrids, especially plug-in versions, will help it navigate the transition from internal combustion engines to full electrification.

Lead production for the new transmission will at be ZF’s plant in Saarbruecken, Germany. It claimed series production should begin in 2022, adding that it aims to expand assembly for additional locations within the the United States and China later on.


[Image: ZF Friedrichshafen AG]

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16 Comments on “ZF to Supply FCA With Glut of Hybrid-ready Transmissions...”

  • avatar

    So we may soon see Hybrid, Durango , 300, Challenger, Charger, Grand Cherokee, and Alfa romeo twins?

    • 0 avatar


    • 0 avatar

      I would be surprised if they monkey with the LX cars, but everything else that is longitudinal will probably get some hybrid/PHEV version on its next refresh/replacement.

      • 0 avatar

        Besides trucks and the jeep grand cherokee and wrangler, what else is longitudinal other than the LX to support an order this big?

        Just a couple weeks ago there was an article where they interviewed the FCA powertrain guy and he seemed to indicate FCA was going to a ‘hybrid everything’ strategy.

        • 0 avatar

          Well Alfa and Maserati. Plus new 3 row jeep whenever that comes.

        • 0 avatar

          “Besides trucks and the jeep grand cherokee and wrangler”

          Besides their highest-volume products?

          The LX cars don’t even do minivan volume these days, they require low production costs to remain a viable offering, and the platform wasn’t engineered with electrification in mind. I’d be very surprised if we see a hybrid/PHEV LX.

          • 0 avatar

            This is the transmission the LX currently use. Not sure how much room the hybrid hardware takes but it may be possible to fit it in without a complete redo. Depends on how vital FCA see’s keeping big cars around is.

          • 0 avatar

            Well ya, that’s a good point about there other vehicles being the most popular. But my understanding is this transmission is almost plug and play for hybridization. I’d bet a Big Gulp that we see a hybrid version of a LX.

          • 0 avatar

            If you all are talking about an “eTorque” system going on the LX cars, then yea maybe. But, I still don’t see a “full” hybrid or PHEV happening.
            I guess we’ll find out.

  • avatar

    “hybrid” seems to be dirty language to the EV folks. Are there really some significant developments that can dramatically increase the MPG of current vehicles? I’m not counting the “mild”-hybrid 48V systems, those seem to be marketing statements but I’d love to hear from those who know more than I.

    It seems that FCA may be betting the ranch on hybrids, that will probably buy them some time but heck if I know…

    • 0 avatar

      Any improvement in fuel economy will help FCA. The mild improvement in overall emissions can’t be discounted either. FCA is a last in its class follower in both.

  • avatar

    Finally time to address the growing emissions problem. Personally, I like the idea of a plug-in Grand Cherokee with Hemi power.

  • avatar

    I have never been a fan of the ZF8 based hybrid system- seems to me like forcing regen through gears forces a tradeoff between smoothness and efficiency- but compared to Lexus’ more logical system I guess it’s better than nothing.

    Hopefully FCA starts moving its big RWD barges to newer, lighter platforms like the Giorgio to further help CAFE fleet scores.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      Regarding the LX “barges:” I find it pretty impressive that a Pentastar equipped rear wheel drive Chrysler 300 will return 30 mpg highway. That is a big, heavy, very comfortable car with a 300 bhp engine. Not so many years ago, a krapbox Corolla 1.8 returned that same 30 mpg highway!

      It is fun to poke fun at the LX chassis as being old…but really, it has much to recommend it. Unlike the old Crown Vic, it had mostly good crash protection, and remains compliant with all contemporary design requirements.

      • 0 avatar

        They get the job done, but could be a lot better with less weight and better visibility.

        Plus I think FCA has 3 different RWD platforms (LX, Giorgio, M159) serving… 7 models? (Giulia, Stelvio, Challenger, Charger, 300, Ghibli, Quattroporte, GranTurismo)… seems silly and I imagine triples the work needed to keep them all up to date. No economies of scale either. I’m guessing the Giorgio can be used across the board… seems like the obvious choice.

    • 0 avatar

      Wanted to edit and add that the ZF hybrid system seems about as effective as Toyota/Lexus’ in hybrid mode with similar HP/weight.

      Still though, I get the feeling efficiencies would be helped by more motor and less gears. Electric motor could probably eliminate 1st and 2nd gear with more electric power. Plug in batteries can deliver healthy amperage too

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