Ford to build own 8-speed transmission, first 3-cylinder engine

Dearborn - Ford Motor Co. today announced plans to make an eight-speed transmission as well as a tiny one-liter, three-cylinder turbo engine as part of its commitment to improving the fuel economy of its vehicles.

Ford also will add production of a transmission for its hybrid engines to the Van Dyke assembly plant with production starting in December. The automaker has invested $135 million to design, engineer and manufacture the transmission in-house. To date it has sourced the transmission from Japanese supplier Aisin. The move created 220 jobs, and the workers are already working on prototypes.
Derrick Kuzak, head of global product development, said the plans for an eight-speed automatic transmission fall within the plan to add 60 new engines and transmissions from 2009 to 2013, and they will also be built in the U.S.

He would not be more specific on timing or plant locations.

The multi-speed transmission, which was done internally by Ford, should improve fuel economy by 2-6 percent, Kuzak said.

As for the three-cylinder engine, it will be for global use, including small cars in the United States. The engine will be built in numerous locations globally but officials would not confirm that North America will be one of them.

The engine was first shown at the 2010 Beijing auto show in a tiny concept car called the Start. While the engine was announced for production today, Ford has not said if the car will also go into productio