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Without Getrag deal, Chrysler will refine its 6-speed

December 1, 2008 - 12:01 am EST

LOS ANGELES — Chrysler LLC will make do with its front-drive automatic transmission now that its deal with Getrag Corporate Group has collapsed.

Getrag's transmission had been expected to give Chrysler's vehicles potentially a 6 percent reduction in fuel consumption over the automaker's current gearbox.

"Step transmissions have opportunities for efficiency, so we will refine our six-speed and look for some other alternatives down the road," said Frank Klegon, Chrysler's executive vice president of product development.

Getrag contracted to supply its wet dual-clutch transmission for Chrysler's four- and six-cylinder engines. The transmission has separate clutches for odd and even gears and shifts without interrupting power. Chrysler was expected to use the transmission in its next generation of small and mid-sized vehicles.

Chrysler sued Getrag in October, seeking damages because Getrag allegedly failed to secure financing for the project. Getrag disputes the claim, saying it was "stunned" by the lawsuit.

A new transmission assembly plant in Tipton County, Ind., was to have opened in late 2009. Chrysler agreed to be the main customer for the 700,000 transmissions built there annually.

"It is unfortunate," Klegon said at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. "I believe the (transmission) had great potential. But it had to work from a business standpoint, and they were unable to deliver that."

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