FRANKFURT – Manual transmission installations will decline 25% in Europe within 10 years, but the need for low-cost components in vehicles destined for emerging markets will stabilize global demand.
So says Stephan Rinderknecht, vice president-research and development atGmbH & Cie KG, the world’s largest independent producer of transmissions.
Manual transmissions are in about 80% of new vehicles assembled for the European market, Rinderknecht tells Ward’s here at the Frankfurt auto show.
“But within 10 years, that should be about 55%,” he says, adding the market is skewing toward dual-clutch technology that affords smoother shifts. This results in greater ride comfort.
Europeans are looking for fuel economy and dual-clutch transmissions offer an opportunity to reduce fuel consumption 4% to 8%, Rinderknecht says. But don’t expect manual transmissions to disappear, he adds, because they are well-suited to emerging markets.
uses the auto show to promote its dual-clutch technology. Branded PowerShift, it will be featured on a 6-speed transmission used by Motor Co., Volvo Cars and a Japan-based auto maker the supplier does not name.
Next year will see the market introduction of a pair of 7-speed dual-clutch transmissions, followed in 2009 by a 6-speed dry-clutch system that can be adapted for hybrid vehicles, Rinderknecht says.
Full “hybridized” PowerShift transmissions and axles will be market-ready by 2010, Getrag says, adding it expects the branded gearboxes to account for 2 million-unit sales by 2014.
The Germany-based supplier expects its total transmission sales to number 3.6 million this year. Axles and power take-off units will reach 1.3 million.
Listening intently to Getrag’s product pitch isproduct guru Ulrich Bez. He notes the Aston Martin DB9, unveiled this week at Frankfurt, features a manual transmission – and it suits the car.
Bez then raises his hands as if clutching a steering wheel and wiggles his fingers as if operating paddle-shifters. “But the future is here,” he says.