Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corp., two of the world's largest automakers, have jointly announced a $720 million investment in their plants to build an all-new, fuel-saving, six-speed front-wheel-drive (FWD) automatic transmission. More than 1100 jobs will be retained as a result.
The transmission, initially announced in October 2002, will be jointly designed, engineered and tested by the automakers. It will be built separately at GM's Warren, Michigan, transmission plant and Ford's Van Dyke (Sterling Heights, Michigan) and Sharonville, Ohio, transmission plants.
Ford's all-new, front-wheel-drive six-speed automatic transmission
Tom Stephens, group vice president, GM Powertrain, and Dave Szczupak, vice president, Ford Powertrain Operations, made the announcement this morning to the Southeast Michigan Automotive Press Association at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit.
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, also in attendance, praised the automakers for their cooperative effort and the retention of 900 jobs in Michigan.
"This partnership between Ford and GM will strengthen Michigan's manufacturing might and affirm Michigan's place as the world leader in automotive technology," Granholm said. "It is this kind of visionary cooperation that will truly drive Michigan's 21st century economy."
To manufacture the transmission, GM is investing $350 million and Ford is investing $370 million. The investments include new equipment, tooling and facilities upgrades at their respective plants.
The new six-speed is expected to offer up to four percent improvement in fuel economy over traditional four-speed automatic transmissions available in today's front-wheel-drive cars. Production is scheduled to begin at both companies in 2006 for FWD and all-wheel-drive passenger cars and sport/utility vehicles.