The Kokomo Indiana Chrysler plants may be getting a boost. Transmission designs from Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen AG has designed a nine speed transmission will be built at one of the four Kokomo plants. The new equipment will be installed in the plant around May 2012. http://kokomotribune.com/local/x1557867604/9-speed-transmission-s-details-revealed
The new transmission, in a vehicle traveling at 90 mph, runs at only 1,900 rpms while a six speed runs at 2,600 rpms. Neither company has stated what Chrysler owned vehicle lines will contain the new transmission. http://www.zf.com/corporate/en/press/press_releases/products_press/products_detail.jsp?newsId=21831400
This will be a boost to the local economy and a save for the 2,250 employees in Kokomo’s Chrysler plants, which is approximately half of the Chrysler workforce in the town. Indiana Transmission Plant I off of US 31 is the plant designated for the new line.
Prior to the nine speed transmission production, the Kokomo Transmission Plant will begin to produce 8 speed transmissions. These eight speed units average 11 percent better than the six speed units now produced. The eight speed units are already used by BMW, Audi, Rolls, and Bentley. http://www.zf.com/corporate/en/press/press_releases/products_press/products_detail.jsp?newsId=21797417
Investments for both lines are reported to be nearly $1.3 billion. About 150,000 eight speeds are to be built, no number for the nine speeds, with 800,000 units a year are to come off the production lines every year.