OK, I’ll be the first to ask: how many gears are enough in an automatic transmission? Chrysler seems to think the answer is eight, and they’re spending a whole lot of money to upgrade their Kokomo, Indiana plant, to build the new 8 speed gearbox. How much money? Three hundred million dollars, making this the largest infrastructure investment from Chrysler since emerging from bankruptcy.
Chrysler has high hopes for the new transmission design. The eight speed automatic will allow Chrysler to maximize fuel economy across their product range without having to resort to a CVT gearbox. Depending upon programming, it should also allow a driver to get the highest performance out of a motor, but at what cost? Will the eight speed be more expensive to produce or maintain?
Chrysler isn’t releasing any additional information just yet, but we’ll keep you posted as soon as they do.