Stellantis is preparing to produce a new eight-speed transmission and will invest a total of $229 million in retooling projects at three plants at Kokomo, IN, as part of its larger goal to make low-emission vehicles comprise 40% of its U.S. sales by 2030. The project also relates to the automaker’s electrification strategy, outlined in July 2021 as a $35-billion capital-investment program.
The new transmission is described as a flexible design that can be paired with internal combustion engines or mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid propulsion systems, for vehicles across the Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, and Dodge brands.
The automaker assured the new transmission would improve fuel economy, provide pure-electric range, and comply with future emission regulations.
Stellantis did not detail the retooling projects to be undertaken at two transmission plants and the aluminum casting plant, but it offered that the investments would retain 662 jobs at the three sites.
Currently the two transmission plants produce four-, six-, eight- and nine-speed transmissions; the foundry casts aluminum automotive components, transmission and transaxle cases, and engine block castings.
Last year Stellantis announced a $400-million conversion of the idled Indiana Transmission Plant II to the Kokomo Engine Plant, to produce the GMET4 “Global Medium Engine”, a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbo. Production will begin later this year, according to Stellantis.
"This investment and this transmission represent an important steppingstone in getting us to 2030 and further expanding our battery electric offerings," according to Stellantis’ head of Powertrain Operations Brad Clark, speaking at the project’s announcement. "This new eight-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."