Chrysler Just Says “No” to Fiat’s Dual-Clutch Transmission
Update, 12/9/11: Chrysler has since expanded on its moratorium on the Fiat dual-clutch, saying that it only applies to the transmission appearing in the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger. The dual-clutch automatic will appear in the 2013 Dodge Dart, which will go on sale sometime in 2012.
Once again back from the brink of disaster, a reinvigorated Chrysler is rapidly overhauling its entire product line—but doing so carefully. The company has been considering dual-clutch transmissions for years, entering into—and then abandoning—an agreement with Getrag, and then experimenting with Fiat’s DCT after the companies were married in 2009. Chrysler publicly discussed a plan to use the Fiat transmission in the 200 and Avenger when the refreshed duo launched in late 2010, but according to a report in Automotive News, that plan is now canceled.
The AN article quotes Chrysler spokesman Vince Muniga as saying, “We were concerned about the refinement and how the American customers might perceive the transmission.” Chrysler representatives wouldn’t provide any details about which aspects of the Fiat gearbox wouldn’t pass American muster, but we applaud the company’s restraint. A lousy transmission can make a great car feel mediocre—as is the case with the new Ford Focus, an otherwise sublime vehicle—and can turn a mediocre car (such the 200 or Avenger) into a bona fide embarrassment.
Don’t think Chrysler has given up on the technology, though—not when it has been talking about it for so many years. Just don’t look for a dual-clutch in a Chrysler product in the immediate future.
By Steve Siler