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SAE Congress Tidbit: DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) Issues in US

Listening to an SAE Congress panel discussion about future powertrains. 

A question to the panel, regarding transmission, elicits an interesting comment on DCT (dual clutch or automated manual transmissions)

In the U.S., DCTs (e.g. Ford Focus) are not well liked because they have a less smooth low-speed and stop/start/creep performance compared to a traditional hydraulic torque converter equipped automatic.  In the U.S., customers are used to the very smooth performance of automatics, having mostly abandoned manual transmissions, so the jerky feel from DCTs is a big minus.  In Europe, most customers are coming from automatics, and are used to some clunkiness.

The industry hopes that customer acceptance in the US will increase as consumers become used to the feel of DCTs... but there is a real danger here to the technology, judging by the poor acceptance and near-demise of the CVT in the NA market.

Personally, I would nave no problem trading some clunkiness of a DCT for its advantages: fast shifts, full manual control, and no fluid to deal with.

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