Wednesday, Oct 26, 2016
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Toledo-built transmission ready to roll

GM says 8-speed automatic available for 2015 Corvette line


Jeff Roe of Oregon puts the valve guides into a six-speed transmission at the Toledo plant on Alexis Road. The line on which he works has been extended to allow the production of both six and eight-speed transmissions on the same line.

The Blade/Jetta Fraser
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Beginning with the 2015 model, all Chevrolet Corvettes will be available with General Motors Co.’s new eight-speed automatic transmission that is built in Toledo.

Though long expected, the company hasn’t yet said publicly that it would use the eight-speed across the Corvette line. At this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, officials said the high-performance 2015 Corvette Z06 would be available with the eight-speed.

The company will officially announce today that the transmission will be optional in the 2015 Corvette Stingray.

“Corvette Stingray’s new eight-speed automatic delivers the comfort and drivability of a true automatic transmission, as well as lightning-fast shifts and the manual control that enhance the performance-driving experience,” Bill Goodrich, assistant chief engineer for eight-speed automatic transmissions, said in a statement.

General Motors has invested about $260 million in its Toledo Transmission plant over the last few years to install new equipment and prepare the facility to build the new transmission.

Mr. Goodrich told The Blade earlier this year the eight-speed was designed with the supercharged Z06 firmly in mind. For the base-model Corvette, Chevrolet tweaked the setup a bit to match the car’s power level. The full manual paddle-shift option remains.

The transmission is essentially the same size as the existing six-speed auto, but weighs about eight pounds less. GM expects a fuel efficiency improvement of up to 5 percent over the six-speed automatic. The EPA rates the automatic 2014 model at 16 miles per gallon city and 28 mpg highway. A 5 percent increase would not amount to all that much in terms of fuel mileage, but we are talking about a 455-horsepower sports car here.

The Toledo Transmission plant on Alexis Road, commonly known as Powertrain, has about 1,900 employees and builds about 5,000 transmissions a day.

It will be the only plant initially producing the new eight-speed transmission.

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