General Motors Co. will invest $55.7 million in its Toledo Transmission Plant as part of a broader effort to build more fuel-efficient engines and transmissions, the company announced today.
In all, GM has committed to spending $332 million across four plants in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana.
Toledo will be the first plant to produce GM’s new eight-speed, rear-wheel drive transmission, and the investment announced today will help support implementation of that product.
The company also said it will increase capacity in Toledo for its existing six-speed transmissions.
The plant currently employs about 1,870 people, building six-speed automatics for both front-wheel and rear-wheel drive applications.
The investment will not add new jobs to the plant, but the $55.7 million does support one of GM's key programs for the future as the automaker works to meet new government regulations and increased consumer demands for higher fuel economy.
“We are investing in technologies and manufacturing capabilities that produce high-quality, fuel-
efficient vehicles and components for our customers,” Diana Tremblay, vice president of
GM North American Manufacturing, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement demonstrates GM’s commitment to growing the business and strengthening the plant communities where we receive so much support.”
Other plants getting money are Flint (Mich.) Engine Operations, which will receive $215 million for a new, small Ecotec gasoline engine; Bay City (Mich.) Powertrain, which will receive $31.7 million to make components for a new V-6 engine and the new Ecotec; and Bedford Casting in Indiana, which will receive $29.4 million to make components for the Ecotec, as well as components for GM’s six-speed transmissions and the upcoming eight-speed transmission.
GM announced Toledo would get the eight-speed project in early 2011, committing to invest $204 million to equip the plant for the new transmission. Later that year, GM announced an additional $82 million to upgrade the front-wheel drive, six-speed transmission that goes in some of GM's most popular models, including the Ohio-built Chevrolet Cruze.
GM officials announced last month that the next-generation 2014 Cadillac CTS will be the first GM product to receive an eight-speed transmission. That car will initially use an eight-speed that GM is purchasing from a separate supplier. It's likely the CTS will get Toledo-built transmissions once they are available.
Additional gear ratios allow vehicles to operate more efficiently, delivering higher fuel economy. They also can offer a better driving dynamic for high performance vehicles, such as the CTS.
Several manufacturers already have eight-speed transmissions. Chrysler Group LLC uses eight-speed transmissions in many of its cars and trucks, including the Chrysler 300 and Ram pickup. Hyundai uses an eight-speed in its upmarket Genesis, and BMW has eight-speeds across much of its line.
The Toledo-built eight-speed figures to be an important component for GM, though the automaker hasn't explicitly said what vehicles it will go in.
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