In the largest single investment it has made since emerging from bankruptcy, the new Chrysler Corporation LLC has committed to investing $300 million in a modernization/updating program that will allow its Kokomo, Indiana, transmission plant to build a new, and more fuel-efficient eight-speed automatic transmission. This new autoshifter, which will be built there under a license from ZF, is destined to play a key role in helping boost the automaker's EPA mileage numbers.
According to Paolo Ferrero, senior vice president -- Powertrain, Chrysler Group LLC, "The new eight-speed automatic transmission will offer our customers refinement and comfort while achieving greater fuel economy and performance. We look forward to integrating the new transmission into future Chrysler Group products and welcome its contribution to a corporate fuel economy improvement of more than 25 percent by 2014."
Chrysler Group Powertrain engineers benchmarked the industry's leading automatic transmissions to set functional goals for this new automatic, the first of which is due to start rolling off the line here in 2013. Until then, they will be supplied to Chrysler by ZF from its factory in Friedrichshafen, Germany. While this super-efficient gearbox is destined to see widespread implementation throughout the automaker's lineup, no specific models or intro dates were released. Optimized for use with start/stop technology, dedicated versions of the ZF eight-speed automatic are currently used by both Audi and BMW.