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Old 11-14-2012, 09:57 AM   #1
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Default We Hear: 2014 Corvette, New Cadillacs to Use Aisin Eight-Speed Auto Before GM’s 8A Ar

When Cadillac launched the XTS last May we asked them if their brand new car would get an eight-speed transmission to better compete with the BMW, Lexus and Audi. Their answer? “Just wait.” Well it looks as if the wait may be coming to an end.

Our source, buried deep within General Motors, has said that yes, the General is working on new eight-speed transmissions across their vehicle lineup. Aside from the need for Cadillac to remain competitive with other luxury automakers, eight-speeds will allow for a higher fuel economy average across GM’s fleet. This last part is crucial in light of upcoming tougher Federal mileage standards. The eight-speed units will be both longitudinal (RWD/AWD) and transverse (FWD/AWD). This family of transmission is reportedly all new and not related to GM’s long-serving 6L family. We expect the longitudinal eight-speed will debut at the Detroit auto show in the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette.

But there’s a hitch. GM’s new longitudinal eight-speeds aren’t yet ready for prime time even though, in the case of Cadillac specifically, they’re greatly needed. Our source says that since the volume involved will be large, GM wants to get it right. Realizing this, GM has reached a short-term agreement with Aisin to supply eight-speed units for rear-drive models. This most likely will include the ATS and upcoming all-new CTS as well as the new Chevrolet Corvette. Aisin is partially owned by Toyota and currently manufactures two eight-speed automatic transmissions, one capable of handling high-torque loads. After approximately one year, the supply deal with Aisin will end and GM will use its own eight-speeds for rear-drive products.

No word on whether the Aisin units will be used for GM’s upcoming new GMT900 full-size truck platform. Nor do we know when the transverse eight-speed auto will will appear for front-drive-based cars, but you can bet that one of its first applications will be in the XTS. Odds are good that the new transverse eight-speed will debut with the new Chevrolet Impala in early 2014. The Impala, XTS and Buick LaCrosse all are built off the Epsilon II platform. So you can expect eight-speeds in the Buick LaCrosse sooner than later — we’ll keep you posted.
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