Chrysler will build a licensed version of a ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox at their Indiana transmission plant. Production is expected to start in 2013, and retain roughly 1,200 jobs.
The total cost for the project will be roughly $300 million, but Chrysler Senior VP of Powertrain Paolo Ferrero said that the new 8-speed transmission will lead to a 25 percent increase in fuel economy. With a new Chrysler 300C and Dodge Charger due in 2011, the 8-speed automatic’s debut in 2013 would be perfect for a mid-cycle refresh, however another Chrysler spokesman said that the gearboxes would be imported prior to their domestic production, meaning that it could launch with the new vehicles from the get-go.
The 8-speed automatic could also see use in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram pickups. The transmission saw its first application in BMW’s 5-Series Gran Turismo and BMW 760Li.