Ford touts 6-speed transmissions

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. plans to make a shift under the hood by 2012, equipping nearly all of its vehicles with six-speed automatic transmissions that will improve fuel efficiency.

Ford said it will more than double the number of North American vehicles with the transmissions, which boost fuel economy by 4 to 6 percent.

The automakerís newest six-speed, the 6F35, will replace the current four-speed in the 2009 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner crossovers.

ďAdvanced six-speed automatic transmissions are an important element in our sustainability strategy to improve fuel economy for our customers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in our new vehicles by 2020,Ē Barb Samardzich, head of Fordís powertrain product development, said in a statement.

Fordís Van Dyke transmission plant in suburban Detroit will double production of the 6F35 annually, according to a press release.

Ford will equip the 2009 Ford Flex crossover and Lincoln MKS sedan with the six-speed 6F50 transmissions. Last year the Van Dyke plant produced 221,000 of the transmissions for the Ford Taurus sedan, Taurus X and Edge crossovers, Mercury Sable sedan and Lincoln MKX crossover.

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