But why do you need gears that rival the number of those fitted to a mountain bike? Simply put, those extra cogs offer three main advantages: improved comfort, better mpg figures and better kick-down response. According to ZF officials, the 9HP can save up to 16 percent more fuel than a normal six-speed automatic, while shift times are kept below the threshold of human perception.
The 9HP gearbox was specially developed for front-transverse drive cars due to the fact that over 75 percent of modern passenger vehicles built around the world feature this type of engine and driveline layout.
Chrysler's Tipton Transmission Plant is the first American facility to industrialize the nine-speed automatic. According to Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the plant will initially employ about 600 workers by the end of the year.
Transmissions built in the 782,000 square-foot facility will be exported to Italy, Turkey, Brazil and China as well. When it reaches full capacity, Tipton will ship about 800,000 finished transmissions to Toledo, Ohio, for use in the Jeep Cherokee and Sterling Heights, Michigan, for the Chrysler 200.