GM Pops Hood to Showcase Dexron-VI Licensees


General Motors has begun publishing a list of approved sources at its Web site for its Dexron-VI automatic transmission fluid, in an effort to make it easier for prospective customers to know which companies are official licensees.

GM introduced the trademarked Dexron-VI automatic transmission fluid in April 2005, calling it a significant upgrade over the previous spec, Dexron-III(H). The company ceased issuing Dexron-III(H) licenses at the end of 2005, meaning all such licenses expired at the end of 2006 and would not be renewed.

Rich Zampardo, GM Dexron licensing program manager in Pontiac, Mich., told Lube Report that the plan is to update the licensees list on the GM Web site once a month. He said one reason the company wanted to publish the list is because they received a lot of phone calls asking whether an automatic transmission fluid provider had a Dexron-VI license.

When companies are bidding for the fluids, they wanted to know whos available, who has a valid license, he said. A lot of times I had to create a list and e-mail it to them.

Zampardo said GM also wants to reward the people who have put out the effort to get an official Dexron-VI license. There are a lot of abusers in the marketplace that claim that their fluid is as good as Dexron-VI, Zampardo said. Why not promote people that have spent the money to get their fluid approved, or a re-brander who is buying from an approved licensee?

He said there are five original license holders, and four re-blenders who are using the original recipe to produce Dexron-VI at their plants. All the re-branders are buying from one of those nine, he said.

Thomas Smith, Valvoline global manager for driveline technology in Lexington, Ky., told Lube Report the posting of the licensees list on the Web is a great thing. This lets everyone out there know who is officially registered, Smith said. A lot of people may make claims on their labels or their literature, and they actually havent bothered to get a license. Valvoline has a Dexron-VI license.

Kimball Morris, president of Indianapolis-based Pinnacle Oil, also a license holder, told Lube Report he was unsure whether publishing the list on GMs Web site will benefit sales. I dont think there are that many cars out there that require Dexron-VI yet, so my guess is youll sell some but not a lot, Morris said. I think better exposure is fine, but thats assuming someone wants to go and do all that [to find the list on the GM Web site].

James Kudis, vice president of Wilmderding, Pa.-based licensee Allegheny Petroleum Products Co., said the companys sales of the Dexron-VI product have grown since its license took effect Jan. 1. He said increased exposure for official licensees has a positive impact.

Initially it was pretty slow until people started becoming aware of it, Kudis said. Its good for us – there arent that many licensees in the country, so were sort of happy. I know its a good product.

GM originally developed the trademarked fluid in conjunction with Afton Chemical Corp. and Petro-Canada Lubricants. Other base oil suppliers also now have approvals.

The new fluid was required by the reduced sump volumes, higher fluid turnover rates and increased energy densities with the companys new transmissions. GM officials at the time said the new transmissions also have less airflow, and thus less cooling capacity, and more aggressive electronically controlled converter clutch usage. The fluid first went into 2006 model year cars and trucks equipped with GMs six-speed Hydra-Matic transmissions.

GM has said that the use of unlicensed fluids and/or non GM approved aftermarket additives may prove detrimental to transmission performance and void warranty coverage. On its Web site, the company warns in bold-face that fluids sold in the market after the end of 2006 bearing claims such as suitable for use in Dexron-III applications or similar wordings should be avoided. Dexron-VI licensed fluids are fully backward compatible and may be used in all applications covered by earlier GM ATF specifications, it advises.

The list of Dexron VI licensees – which currently includes about two dozen companies – and an accompanying GM press release can be found online at

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