GM 8-speed likely to get wide use

The 2015 Corvette is expected to be just the first of many vehicles to carry GM's new eight-speed transmission.
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DETROIT -- The eight-speed automatic transmission that will soon debut in the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette is expected to get broad use in General Motors trucks and luxury cars in coming years.

An IHS Automotive forecast for the transmission, obtained by Automotive News, predicts that GM will make nearly 200,000 of the eight-speed gearboxes for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups in each of the next two years.

Next year, a lower-torque version of the transmission is expected to roll out in some Cadillac ATS and CTS models and the Chevy Camaro muscle car.

IHS also predicts that the gearbox, developed and built by GM at its Toledo, Ohio, powertrain plant, will later appear on several other vehicles: the Chevy Colorado and GMC Can-yon midsize pickups, starting in 2016; and the Chevy Express and GMC Savana cargo vans, starting in 2018.

GM said last month that it would offer the transmission, dubbed 8L90, in some 2015 Silverado and Sierra models, paired with a 6.2-liter V-8 engine.

GM has not disclosed volume targets or plans for the gearbox's use in cars beyond the Corvette.

GM global product chief Mark Reuss told reporters last month that transmissions with higher numbers of gears will be "a big part of our product lineup." He declined to specify models.

While developing the eight-speed gearbox for the Corvette, GM "set some aggressive goals in terms of how fast it shifts in that performance application," Reuss said. "But we're also looking at some great fuel economy gains in some of the other product lines we're looking at."

The IHS forecast predicts that the transmission's production volume will decline starting in 2018. It is likely to be replaced by production of a 10-speed rear-wheel-drive transmission that it is co-developing with Ford Motor Co., which is expected by sometime in 2016.

You can reach Mike Colias at mcolias@crain.com.


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