DAF's rubber band transmission has the last laugh

Jay Nagley

Admittedly you have to be at least 40 to remember the Dutch DAF car (it was absorbed into Volvo in the 1970s). It pioneered a transmission using a rubber pulley rather than individual gears.

The "rubber band" transmission later mutated into a steel belt and was tried in various small Fiats and Fords, but without much success. However, it is now catching on in the USA, of all places. In 2005 1% of cars in America had CVT (for Constantly Variable Transmission), By 2010 it was 7%, and according to the forecasting company IHS Automotive, it will hit 16% by 2016.