This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
GM to Debut Front-Wheel-Drive, Six-Speed Transmissions in 2006
General Motors Corporation (GM) announced on August 25th that a new fuel-efficient, six-speed automatic transmission will debut next year on the 2007 Saturn Aura, a midsized sedan. GM's new six-speed, front-wheel-drive automatic transmission will deliver a four percent improvement in fuel economy when compared to today's standard four-speed, front-wheel-drive automatic transmissions. The transmission—developed jointly with Ford Motor Company—saves fuel by better matching engine speed to power needs, while the sixth "overdrive" gear allows the engine to run at low speeds while driving on the highway. By 2010, GM intends to produce 3 million cars featuring the new six-speed transmission.
GM is also debuting two types of six-speed, rear-wheel-drive transmissions on five vehicles this year: the 2006 Chevrolet Corvette, the 2006 Cadillac STS-V and XLR-V, the 2006 Chevrolet Silverado HD, and the 2006 GMC Sierra HD. GM says the rear-wheel-drive versions also save fuel, but does not specify how much. See the GM press releases about the front-wheel-drive transmission and about other efficiency improvements, including the rear-wheel-drive transmissions.