DURHAM, N.C. -- The Chrysler group will put five-speed automatic transmissions in 2006-model Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300 models with the 3.5-liter V-6 engine.
The running change, from a four-speed automatic, will be made in the fourth quarter, after 2006 models go into production.
Chrysler said the change will improve vehicle performance and fuel economy.
The driving experience will be smoother, says Craig Love, vice president of the Chrysler group's rear-wheel-drive product team.
"You don't have quite so many upshifts (and) downshifts going through the mountains," Love said at a Dodge media event here. "That's when it really shines."
The five-speed transmission was not offered when the V-6 equipped 300 and Magnum went on sale last year because of capacity constraints. Production at the automaker's Kokomo, Ind., transmission plant is being expanded this year.
Joe Grace, senior manager of the company's premium vehicle platform team, says the five-speed transmission improves "real world fuel economy," even though the government ratings "remain the same": 19 mpg on the city cycle and 27 mpg on the highway.
Today the five-speed automatic transmission is available on Magnum and 300 models equipped with the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. It is standard on the Hemi-powered 2006 Charger R/T and the 250-hp 3.5-liter V-6-equipped Charger SE and SXT.
The 2006 Charger went into production last month.
The four-speed automatic transmission will be used on 2006 Chrysler 300 and Magnum models with the 190-hp 2.7-liter V-6.
Fleet versions of the Charger SE will be equipped with the 2.7-liter V-6 and four-speed automatic.
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