Chrysler Sees 200,000 9-Speed Transmissions for 3 Models

Chrysler Group LLC may have as many as 200,000 nine-speed transmissions available this year that will eventually go in three new models, its chief executive officer said.

The nine-speeds will go into the successor to the Jeep Liberty, the new 200 midsize sedan and the Dodge Dart compact sedan, CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters after a speech in Detroit. The new Jeep will be first, followed by either the 200 or both the 200 and the Dart, he said. The Liberty replacement is scheduled to begin shipping in the second quarter.

The nine-speed transmission is the “future of the front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive world for Chrysler,” Marchionne said today. Marchionne also heads Turin, Italy-based Fiat SpA, Chrysler’s majority owner.

Marchionne is relying on Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler to offset losses at Fiat’s mass-market brands in Europe. He’s working to increase profit in the region before merging the two automakers.

Powertrain issues hurt the Dart’s debut last year, Marchionne said this week. Darts were initially shipped with only manual transmissions, then with optional dry-dual clutch automatic transmissions that, while popular in Europe, are unfamiliar to Americans, he told reporters earlier this week in Detroit.

Chrysler’s U.S. sales rose 21 percent last year, to 1.65 million deliveries. Chrysler, which was projected by analysts to lose market share in 2012, increased annual sales more than any major automaker other than Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. during the year.