8-speed automatic transmission may not be ready for 2014 Corvette debut
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette will make its grand debut on January 13th, 2013 at a private event in Detroit and it is widely expected that GM will call upon a new internally designed 8-speed automatic transmission to help the C7 reach the best fuel economy ever offered by a Corvette. This new transmission will be a part of a new family of gearboxes that will come in both longitudinal (rear wheel drive configurations) and transverse (front wheel drive configurations) forms with the formal introduction to this new transmission lineup coming alongside the 2014 Corvette at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. This will be a huge step forward for the Corvette as many other (much more expensive) sports cars from across the pond already feature these fuel friendly transmissions along with being a nice bonus for owners who can expect fuel economy levels on the highway that is unprecedented for an American sports car.
The problem is that in launching this new 8-speed transmission family for both the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette and high end front wheel drive models like the Cadillac XTS – General Motors has to make very sure that they don’t have any “bugs”. It would come as a massive hit to the company to introduce a long-awaited piece of technology like an in-house designed 8-speed transmission for use in their highest end models…only to have those models become problematic. Because of that need for perfection, a source within General Motors told Motor Trend that a short term agreement has been worked out with the Japanese firm Aisin to supply 8-speed transmissions until the GM engineering unit is ready.
Aisin is partially owned by Toyota and while some Americans will scoff at the idea of the Chevrolet Corvette being fitted with a transmission designed by a subsidiary of Toyota - Aisin is a well known name in the transmission world with two 8-speed gearboxes already at use around the world. One of those transmissions is designed to handle a high torque load so we know that the Aisin 8-speed automatic will be able to handle the input of the new Corvette’s LT1 engine (shown above on the right).
In speaking with some enthusiasts of the Chevrolet Corvette, there has been some concern that buyers could be unhappy about purchasing one of the early models with the Japanese transmission but considering the massive amount of interest leading up to the launch of the Corvette’s seventh generation – we don’t expect to see any issues moving the 2014 Corvette when it arrives next year.