When the 2014 C7 Corvette becomes available next year, it’s widely believed that buyers of the all-new sports car will have their choice of a 7-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic. The new 8-speed automatic transmission will be built at GM’s Toledo, Ohio transmissions plant and is expected to be shared by Corvette, select Cadillacs and other models across the GM lineup. However, in a report yesterday at Motor Trend, sources said the new transmissions won’t be ready for another year, so GM has partnered with the Japanese company Aisin to provide the automatics for C7 Corvette’s first year of production.
Motor Trend says the reason for the delay is that GM wants to ensure that their own 8-speeds will be ready for prime time due to the volume of transmissions involved.
The 8-speed transmissions are much needed, especially for the Cadillac to remain competitive with other luxury automakers as well as helping GM raise its fuel economy average across the fleet of GM vehicles. The new transmissions will go into the 3rd generation CTS as well as the new Cadillac ATS. Other models expected to get the 8-Speed include the 2014 Chevrolet Impala and the Buick LaCrosse.
Aisin is a Japanese company partially owned by Toyota and currently manufacturers two eight speed automatic transmissions, one of which is capable of handling the high-torque loads of the Corvette. The agreement for buying the transmissions from Aisin are reportedly for one year only, in which case the deal with Aisin will conclude and GM will begin sourcing their own in-house units.
A look at Aisin’s website revealed the following about their RWD 8-Speed automatic transmission:
Compared to conventional ATs, the 8-speed AT employs a wider gear ratio and more detailed gear positions to realize improved power performance and fuel efficiency. Combining this gear ratio with a high performance engine results in a superior ride and quietness only possible in a luxury vehicle
Some of commentors on the Motor Trend article say the Aisin RWD 8-speed auto is currently on the Lexus LS 460 and the Lexus IS-F.
GM announced back in May of 2011 that it would be investing $204 million to build an all-new advanced 8-speed automatic transmission at its Toledo transmissions plant. The transmission investment news came just days after GM North American President Mark Reuss announced the $131 million investment into the Bowling Green Assembly Plant to make the new C7 Corvette.
We don’t believe the Japanese-sourced automatic will hinder C7 Corvette sales at all. In fact, we are especially appreciative that General Motors is not rushing the new transmissions and instead will focus on quality and testing the new units before placing them into their new lineup of performance and luxury vehicles.
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