EU:European Volvos will get dual-clutch gearbox
European Volvos will get dual-clutch gearbox
By WIM OUDE WEERNINK | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE
Starting in late 2007, diesel versions of Volvo’s S40 and V50 will have dual-clutch transmissions. The transmissions eventually will go into the majority of Volvo parent Ford Motor’s lineup in Europe. This includes models from Ford brand, Land Rover and Mazda, in which Ford has a controlling 33.4 percent stake. The gearboxes will replace continuously variable transmissions and automatics.
The introduction of dual clutch for the S40 and V50 lower-premium cars will coincide with a mild face-lift planned for the models, a Volvo source said.
Ford sources say that dual-clutch units will not be limited to just a few models but will be offered in a wide range of vehicles, such as the Ford Focus and Focus C-Max, which currently have CVT variants, Land Rover’s Freelander and most Mazda cars. The Focus C-Max medium minivan may get the transmission as early as next year when it gets a face-lift.
Ford “is also considering dual-clutch transmissions for some of its smaller US models,” a company source said.
Dual clutch transmissions are essentially manual transmissions that offer the option of driving in an automatic mode. The systems work particularly well when mated to diesel engines because a dual clutch can be shifted without any break in torque flow.
Ford’s dual clutch will be built by its joint-venture transmission partner Getrag in Kechnec, Slovakia. Ford and Getrag say their Powershift dual-clutch system promises fuel savings of about 10 percent compared with a traditional automatic transmission.
Ford is the latest automaker to adopt the dual clutch . Volkswagen group has offered the transmission since 2003. VW brand plans to replace all of its transverse-mounted automatic transmissions with its dual-clutch system, which it calls DSG, over the next five years.
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My next Ford.....