While doing a bit of research for this post we stumbled on an entry in Wikipedia for Allison Transmission and learned some pretty interesting stuff about the company's history. It's founder, James Allison, was one of the four original businessmen who financed the construction of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909 and started up the Indy 500 in 1911. The company also got into aviation engines and was the only U.S. manufacturer to develop and produce a V12 liquid-cooled engine during WWII. Finally, Allison Transmission was one of the driving forces in developing GM's two-mode hybrid drivetrain that first saw use in commercial buses before being adapted for passenger car use.
Allison Transmission is clearly a storied old American company, so it will be very interesting to see who, if anyone, steps up to buy it.
General Motors Considering Strategic Options for Allison Transmission
NEW YORK -- General Motors (NYSE: GM) today announced that it is looking at strategic options related to its Allison Transmission commercial and military operations, including a potential sale of the business. This process is another potential step in GM's plan to improve liquidity through the assessment of strategic options for a business that is not central to GM's mission of designing, manufacturing and selling cars and light trucks globally. GM continues to have a strong liquidity position, with more than $20 billion in cash and marketable securities at the end of the third quarter 2006.
Allison Transmission has a track record of strong business performance and is the leading seller of automatic transmissions for commercial vehicles. The company designs, engineers, manufactures and sells automatic transmissions for commercial and military vehicle applications. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Allison Transmission employs 3,400 people, has 7 plants in Indianapolis and sells automatic and powershift transmissions, product parts and support through a worldwide distribution network and sales offices throughout North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.