Sometimes maligned, sometimes acclaimed, the continuously variable transmission is poised to snap up more North American market share in coming years.
After a surge of interest early in the past decade, the CVT had some rocky market introductions and its use declined sharply. But now automakers, pressured by rising fuel economy requirements, are reconsidering the efficient, gearless transmission.
Still, automakers must remedy past problems -- and overcome the CVT sneer factor -- to make the transmission as acceptable as the new wave of cutting-edge automatic transmissions.
As recently as 2005, CVTs accounted for just 1 percent of the North American market, according to industry forecasting firm IHS Automotive. Two years ago, propelled by Nissan Motor Co.'s widespread use of the transmissions, CVTs shot up to 7 percent of the market. IHS now forecasts that CVT penetration will more than double to 16 percent of vehicles sold in North America in 2015.Read Article