Small cars like the Ford Fiesta may get Ford

Ford announced Thursday it will build a new 1-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine and a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Ford says the new three-cylinder engine is the smallest engine the automaker has ever built.

The new transmission will be designed and built internally by Ford, which Car and Driver says is “a bit of a surprise in this era, when high costs have driven manufacturers to often buy transmissions from specialists like ZF and Aisin.”

The small three-cylinder engine is aimed at fuel-conscious car shoppers, and Ford says it will be used globally in its small cars. Ford’s new transmission will go into future vehicles, and will start being built later this year.

The eight-speed transmission is expected to increase fuel economy 2 to 6 percent, Edmunds’ AutoObserver reports. Ford says full volume production of the new transmission is scheduled for the first quarter of 2012.

“Consumers are telling us they want to buy affordable vehicles that get many more miles per gallon,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development, in a press release. “Our new 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine will give consumers looking for hybrid-like fuel economy a new, more affordable choice.”

Kuzak said the new 1-liter three-cylinder engine is expected to deliver horsepower and torque outputs that are the same or better than most normally aspirated 1.6-liter gasoline engines.

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