DETROIT — Hyundai will get its first eight-speed automatic transmission when the Genesis sedan is freshened in 2011.
The company is developing the new transaxle in-house, Lee Hyun-Soon, head of r&d for Hyundai and Kia in South Korea, said here last week at the auto show.
Lee said Kia's new Borrego SUV also may get the eight-speed.
"This new transmission is for our rear-drive vehicles," he said. "It will improve fuel economy by almost 2 percent. It gives better acceleration" and better noise, vibration and handling performance.
Both the Genesis and Borrego have six-speed automatic transmissions.
Lee said Hyundai aims to develop all its future transmissions itself. The company's first in-house six-speed automatic went into production in December. It will be used first on Hyundai's Azera 3.3-liter V-6 sedan this month. Lee said the new six-speed also will go on Kia's Amanti sedan later this year.
Hyundai says the new six-speed version of the Azera gets 20 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway, compared with 18/26 for the five-speed version.
The redesigned Santa Fe crossover, scheduled to arrive in late 2009 or early 2010, also will get the new six-speed.
The Genesis, which went on sale in July, was named North American Car of the Year by a panel of journalists who timed their announcement to coincide with the Detroit show.