Chrysler plans to introduce its eight-speed transmissions on six cars and trucks and the nine-speed transmissions on all its front-wheel drive vehicles.
The company has already begun installing new equipment and training its workers at three plants located in Kokomo. By the end of 2012 Chrysler will begin production of the eight-speed transmissions and at the beginning of 2013 the nine-speed transmissions.
“It replaces everything, literally, ” said Brian Harlow, vice president of powertrain of the company’s plans to offer the nine-speed transmission in front-wheel drive vehicles. “Everything that we are making today will get it.”
These transmissions, co-developed by German auto supplier ZF Group, are aimed at offering Chrysler’s trucks and SUVs improved fuel economy. The eight-speed transmissions are expected to offer more than 25% by 2014, but the company aims at the government’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy target of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.
“There is a definite road map that takes us” to that goal, Harlow said.
Currently Chrysler offers its eight-speed transmissions on the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger full-size sedans, manufactured in Germany and supplied by ZF Group. In addition to these models, Chrysler also plans to add the eight-speed transmissions on the Jeep Wrangler, Ram, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Dodge Challenger. The nine-speed transmissions will be featured by the Chrysler 200.