However, production of Focus transmissions will begin later this year, when the plant will have 400 workers, double the amount that it has now.
"We believe this new automatic transmission for the Fiesta will be the most advanced in the segment, offering far better performance than our competitors," said Piero Aversa, team leader for PowerShift development. "It's an advanced gearbox that reduces complexity, saves weight, increases responsiveness and performance – all while helping keep the engine in its peak efficiency mode – resulting in class-leading fuel economy."
The dual dry-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission is based on efficient manual transmission technology, with the twin internal clutches shift gears being electronically controlled. In combination with the 1.6-liter I-4 engine, the Ford Fiesta with PowerShift is expected to deliver fuel efficiency of at least 40 mpg on the highway.
"A dual dry-clutch transmission provides some real dividends on small car applications," said Aversa. "PowerShift with dry-clutch facings and new energy-saving electromechanical actuation for clutches and gear shifts saves weight, improves efficiency, increases smoothness, adds durability and is sealed with low-friction gear lubricant for the life of the vehicle. This transmission requires no regular maintenance."
Ford has also revealed it is planning to make the six-speed transmissions available across 85 percent of its product portfolio for 2010, while by 2013 to have them offered in 100 percent of Ford vehicles.