DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. plans to offer as an option an electronically shifted dual-clutch, six-speed manual transmission in 2010.
Ford wont confirm what car the innovative gearbox is going in, but it probably will show up in the Focus or a Mercury version of the Focus or both cars. Ford already offers the dual-clutch transmission on the European Focus.
Next year, the North American Focus will switch to a re-engineered version of the European platform. In a statement, Ford said the transmission will be used in the small-car segment.
A six-speed dual-clutch transmission increases fuel economy by as much as 9 percent compared with a four-speed automatic. It uses a series of fast-acting, computer-controlled solenoids to shift gears quickly without interrupting the flow of power to the wheels.
Ford wont be the first automaker to offer the gearbox in North America. It is standard on the Smart car and optional on the Volkswagen GTi, for example.
This advanced six-speed gearbox is an improvement over todays automatic transmissions in terms of fuel economy, while providing customers an even more fun driving experience, Ford Powertrain Vice President Barb Samardzich said in a statement.
The gearbox probably would be offered in a sporty version of the Focus and would include shifter paddles on the steering wheel.