Chrysler Delays DCTs for 2012 Models
Chrysler’s plan to introduce a new dual-clutch transmission (DCT) to it’s 2012 model, like the Dodge Avenger or Chrysler 200 sedan, have been postponed. The Detroit based automaker has been working on dual-clutch gearboxes since 2008, when it first announced it would develop a DCT with supplier Getrag.
Late last year, when it introduced the restyled Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200, Chrysler said both sedans would get a dual-clutch transmission sourced and engineered in Europe. With the 2012 model year in full swing, the DCT versions haven’t joined Chrysler’s new eight-speed automatics in its product plan, though a sporty Avenger R/T has been introduced.
Chrysler now says it’s delayed the introduction of the transmission while it continues to work on refinement. Chrysler spokesperson Kathy Graham says that the DCT “feels differently than what consumers are used to in the United States,” and that Chrysler “felt additional development work to ensure we fulfill the market expectations and driving requirements by U.S. consumers was the right decision.”
“Mr. Marchionne [the Chrysler/Fiat CEO] has been on record since Fiat bought us that our products need to be perfect,” Graham says, explaining that the recent negative reviews of Ford’s DCT in the 2012 Focus had no impact on Chrysler’s decision to delay its own dual-clutch transmission. Complaints about the 2012 Focus’ PowerShift DCT were cited by the last Consumer Reports’ Annual Reliability Survey, as a reason for Ford’s drop in the ratings.
Chrysler’s dual-clutch transmission is still planned for North American vehicles. Given the availability of dual-clutch gearboxes in vehicles like the Focus and the new Hyundai Veloster, it’s possible the new transmission could first appear in the 40-mpg compact car promised by Chrysler as a part of its acquisition by Fiat. That small car is expected to be introduced at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.