Seeing sales on the rise, FCA is investing in order to have the capacity to build more eight-speed TorqueFlite transmissions.
With sales of vehicles equipped with the popular eight-speed transmission growing, FCA US LLC stated it will invest an additional $266 million in its Kokomo Transmission Plant (Ind.) to increase capacity of the fuel-efficient TorqueFlite transmission.
This is the sixth investment made at Kokomo Transmission (KTP) since June 2009, bringing total investment in FCA US Kokomo operations to nearly $1.8 billion.
FCA US, for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is the entity formerly known as Chrysler Group LLC.
According to FCA, the investment will be used to purchase new equipment and tooling, adding more assembly capacity within KTP’s existing floor space. With the Council’s approval, work in the plant will begin immediately and be completed in the third quarter of 2016.
“Since the launch of the eight-speed, employees at Kokomo Transmission have been working practically round the clock to produce this advanced, fuel-efficient transmission,” said Brad Clark, Head of Powertrain Manufacturing Operations, FCA – North America. “We are pleased that vehicles equipped with this transmission have been so well received by consumers. This investment will give us the additional capacity we need to make it available across even more vehicles in our product line.”
KTP has been producing the eight-speed transmission since September 2012. In 2013, KTP produced nearly 300,000 eight-speeds transmissions. That number has more than doubled to nearly 700,000 in the first 11 months of 2014, said FCA.
Currently, the eight-speed transmission is available on the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Dodge Durango and Ram 1500. The Company stated it sold more than 800,000 of these models in the U.S. through November 2014.
The KTP-produced TorqueFlite eight-speed automatics – first of their kind ever made available to mainstream-brand customers – are projected by FCA to power more than one million vehicles worldwide.
Over their lifetimes, these vehicles are projected by FCA to save their owners more than 700 million gallons of fuel, compared with their predecessors that featured five- or six-speed automatics.