June 7, 2006 -- Facility renovations will begin in July at the GM Powertrain facility in Bedford, IN, and will total $48 million for new melting capacity for the foundry, as well as new machinery, equipment, and tooling to support the higher production volume. GM is increasing the total volume of transmission cases and converter housings produced at the site.
Six-speed transmissions are rising in popularity because of their fuel efficiency and acceleration performance. The six-speed automatic reduces engine RPMs at highway cruising speeds (also reducing noise and engine wear) and improves fuel economy. New six-speed automatic transmission variants for front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive applications will be introduced in almost 40 GM models worldwide in 2006 and 2007. By 2010, GM will introduce 3 million six-speed transmissions per year, among 10 different models.
John Buttermore, GM Powertrain v.p. – manufacturing, stated: “The six-speed automatic is a best-of-both-worlds scenario, delivering great performance and enabling improved fuel economy. It is almost like having two transmissions in one – the high numerical first gear provides tremendous off-the-line acceleration, but the transmission is able to use the six gears to evenly distribute the torque and settle at an overdrive gear that helps deliver great fuel economy.
The rear-drive transmission cases produced in Bedford will be used in the Hydra-Matic 6L80 RWD and 6L50 FWD six-speed transmissions currently produced at GM Powertrain Ypsilanti (MI) and in future six-speed operations at the Toledo (OH) Transmission facilities.
The 6L80 RWD transmissions will be tailored for SUVs and trucks, such as the GMC Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade. The 6L50 FWD will debut in the 2007 Cadillac STS and the V-8 SRX crossover SUV.
Full-volume production for both the front- and rear-wheel drive cases is expected at Bedford in late 2008. The aluminum melting, diecasting, and permanent mold facility produces transmission cases and converter housings for the Ypsilanti and Warren, MI, and Toledo plants. Bedford also produces transmission casings, pistons, and engine blocks for other GM Powertrain facilities.