Auto maker Stellantis is to invest US$229m in three of its plants in Kokomo, Indiana, to help the company reach its goal of achieving 40% low-emission vehicle sales in the USA by 2030.
The investment will support retooling of the Kokomo Transmission (KTP), Kokomo Casting and Indiana Transmission plants to produce the fourth-generation 8-speed transmission. This new transmission will have the flexibility to be paired with internal combustion engines, as well as mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid propulsion systems, for vehicles across the Jeep, Ram, Chrysler and Dodge brands.
Stellantis head of powertrain operations Brad Clark commented, “This investment and this transmission represent an important stepping-stone in getting us to 2030 and further expanding our battery electric offerings,” said Clark. “This new 8-speed is the ‘multi-tool’ of transmissions. It is a versatile transmission that can be adapted for a variety of applications, allowing us the flexibility to adjust our production as consumer demand for electrified vehicles grows over the next decade. It also offers consumers the opportunity to get familiar with this technology and explore all of the benefits that can come from electrification.”
The fourth-generation, eight-speed transmission will capitalize on a number of common parts within the different versions including the transmission gear train/clutch, mechatronics, mechanical pump and e-pump motor. It also will have the flexibility for unique parts to adapt to the various electrification options such as the e-motor, torque converter and power electronics.
Adding electrified transmission assembly also diversifies the product portfolio of the Kokomo operations. In March 2020, Stellantis announced it would invest US$400m to convert Indiana Transmission Plant II to the Kokomo Engine Plant to produce the GMET4 engine, the company’s 2.0-liter Global Medium Engine inline four-cylinder turbo. Production is expected to start later this year.
“As our industry continues to change, our focus must continue to be on our most valuable asset – our people,” concluded Clark. “This transmission program will bring new opportunities for our current workforce, as well as the manufacturing workforce of the future.”