Agreements between manufacturers and suppliers are extremely commonplace in the automotive industry, in fact they are so much so that normally we wouldn’t spend any time reporting on them.
But a new deal recently put in place between FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and ZF, manufacturer of transmissions, has attracted much interest. The reason, quite simply, is that it reveals much about the FCA’s orientation in the coming years.
The agreement centres around one of biggest orders German manufacturer ZF has received to date for automatic transmissions. The unit is the fourth generation of the 8HP 8-speed automatic transmission, which is designed to work with either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configurations, and it could also integrate an electric motor acting as a generator. Which means, it could be used in plug-in hybrid models.
The first generation of this transmission first appeared in 2008; it’s currently found in Dodge’s Charger and Challenger models, but also in Bentley and Rolls-Royce vehicles.