More than 90 million transmission sets were produced for the global automotive industry in 2015, an increase of 1.1% on the previous year, states a recently published report from RnR Market Research. Of this total more than 24 million transmission sets were produced in China in 2015, up 3.3% on 2014, and whilst this report largely focuses on transmission trends in that country it also reflects on developments in transmission types at global enterprises such as Schaeffler, Aisin, ZF Friedrichshafen and the impact of new EV and hybrid vehicles.
The report emphasises the continuing inroads made by various automatic transmissions especially in China where the proportion of automatic passenger cars sold in 2015 reached 56%. Dual clutch transmissions (DCT) and continuously variable transmissions (CVT) are said to be showing the fastest growth, reaching above 20% and 30% respectively; standard automatic transmissions are showing a slow rate of growth whilst the market for automated manual transmissions (AMT) has been declining slightly.
The report states that the world’s first low-torque dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) from Dongfeng Getrag Transmission Co., Ltd. went into mass production in April this year, and in July Chongqing Tsingshan Industrial Co Ltd also started the mass production of DCTs. In August 2016, Honda of Japan submitted to the Japan Patent Office an application for a patent covering an “11-speed, three-clutch automatic transmission”. According to the Honda patent, increasing the number of gears and clutches can achieve higher gear-shifting response efficiency and smoother trip-over stop, and can also effectively reduce torque.
In 2016, SAIC GM announced plans to invest RMB2.5 billion in the construction of a plant to build 450,000 units/year of CVT transmissions. This will add to the capacity already provided by established CVT producer Nanjing Punch Powertrain Co., Ltd. Nanjing Punch Powertrain is also said to be launching DCTs offering high fuel economy.