The CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Sergio Marchionne, is hoping that Tipton County in Indiana will become a global hub for transmission production. In order to achieve this goal, Chrysler’s plant in the county began to produce the new nine-speed transmissions that will be in many of their upcoming vehicles.
The production has already begun and is expected to bring with it some 815 new jobs to the plant. When the plant begins to operate at full capacity it expects to be producing 800,000 finished gearboxes that will then be routed across the globe to be used in numerous upcoming models such as the Jeep Cherokee and the Chrysler 200.
Chrysler has been making large investments leading up to this point. Since 2009, the company has put in more than $1.6 billion dollars into the Indiana plant and have put 2,600 people to work to get ready for this new transmission.
Chrysler is looking to start having more power underneath the hood. To this end, they have decided to have a 8 and 9 speed transmission in their cars by 2013. It’s quite the goal, but the company is making sure to lay the foundation to make it possible.
The recruiting program, according to Rushlane.com, is already underway for this endeavor. Chrysler has already started to put the new equipment needed into three of their plants in Kokomo, Indiana. The production of 8 speed transmission will start later in the year with the 9 speed transmission scheduled to begin the first quarter of 2013. Chrysler is bringing in German auto supplier ZF Group to co-developed the new transmissions.
“It replaces everything, literally. Everything that we are making today will get it,” says Brian Harlow, Vice President Powertrain of Chrysler. The 8 speed transmission upgrades are currently available in the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300. The plan is next to put them inside their SUV’s and trucks such as Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Challenger, the Jeep Wrangler, and Ram trucks. The new transmissions look to be 25% more fuel efficient than the current transmissions.