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Chrysler names ex-GM exec Lux as new transmission boss

Jeffrey Lux will be responsible for the design, development and release of all Chrysler transmission and driveline systems.

DETROIT -- Chrysler Group has named a former General Motors executive as its new head of transmission powertrain.

Jeffrey Lux, 50, who had been executive director of powertrain new-product launch for GM, replaces Mircea Gradu, who parted ways with Chrysler in January.

Lux’s appointment is effective immediately.

Lux will be responsible for the design, development and release of all Chrysler transmission and driveline systems.

According to his profile on the social media site LinkedIn, Lux was chief engineer for GM’s hybrid electric drive units during portions of 2009 and 2010. He later worked for GM in Europe as vice president of powertrain engineering.

Lux has a business degree from Michigan State University and mechanical engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell University.

Gradu, 50, left Chrysler Jan. 15. Gradu and his team had been responsible for the operation and calibrations of the nine-speed transmission and disconnecting awd system used on the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. The Cherokee’s launch was delayed two months until late October to allow the automaker to recalibrate the system’s software.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, to whom Lux will report, said as late as last week that the company remains committed to its innovative nine-speed automatic transmission, despite launch issues.

“The nine-speed transmission is the shortest, most complex transmission you can buy in the marketplace. It has a number of wonderful attributes, but one of things that is not so wonderful is the fact that it’s new,” Marchionne said last week at a press event in suburban Detroit.

The nine-speed is to be used in all of Chrysler Group’s planned future front-wheel-drive vehicles, including the 2015 Chrysler 200 and the Jeep Renegade.

“The commitment continues to bring about improvements in the nine-speed, and we recognize the fact that we keep on getting better at this,” Marchionne said. “Some technical changes will already be made by the time [the 200] gets launched, and we’ll continue to make changes going forward.”

You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at lvellequette@autonews.com -- Follow Larry P. on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LarryVellequett