General Motors Corp. reports it plans to invest $49 million for new tooling and equipment to be installed at its GM Powertrain plant in Bedford, IN, to produce components for the eight-speed transmission it is introducing, as well as for a small engine product to be announced sometime in the future. It is the latest in a series of 17 plant improvements that GM indicated last month would be part of a total capital investment strategy valued at $2 billion.
Specific details of the new equipment and the timing of the projects were not announced. GM has previously indicated plans to introduce an 8-speed transmission, though its design details and the vehicles that will host it remain unclear. Most of GM’s existing engines feature a six-speed transmission, but several of its competitors are featuring more complex gearing technologies.
"The all-new 8-speed transmission will improve fuel economy in a number of future vehicles," stated GM Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones, “and, the new gasoline engine, which will be offered in displacements from 1.0 liters to 1.5 liters, is key to fuel economy leadership in the small four-cylinder engine segment."
According to the automaker the new investment at Bedford will “create or retain” 91 jobs.
GM has said its eight-speed transmission will be produced at the powertrain plant in Toledo, OH,
GM’s Bedford complex includes an aluminum diecasting operation that produces transmission casings and converter housings for six-speed transmission. In 2007, GM began a $44-million program that involved automated high-pressure diecasting machines.
In April 2010 GM included the Bedford plant in its $890-million plan to produce its small-block truck and car engines, indicating it would be expanding semi-permanent mold casting capability there.