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GM tooling up to build new six-speed automatic for FWD cars

General Motors has decided to add production of a new six-speed automatic transmission at their Toledo, Ohio powertrain plant. The new transmission plant is designed for mid-sized front wheel drive cars like the Chevy Malibu and Saturn Aura. The new transmission is a more compact design then GM current units with the gears mounted on the same axis as the crankshaft instead of being offset. The design of the transmission will improve both performance and fuel economy. GM will be spending almost $400 million to install production equipment at the plant and at supplier facilities.

[Source: General Motors]

GM To Invest $332 Million In Toledo Transmission Plant

  • New fuel-efficient, front-wheel-drive, six-speed transmissions added to line-up
  • Approximately 600 hourly jobs retained
  • Nearly $1 Billion invested in Ohio in one year

TOLEDO , OHIO – General Motors Corp. will invest $332 million in its Toledo, Ohio transmission plant to produce a new six-speed, front-wheel-drive automatic transmission that will deliver an excellent balance of performance and fuel economy in GM's mid-size vehicle segment.

The investment includes facility renovation, new machinery, equipment and special tooling to support the production of the new Hydra-Matic 6T40/45 six-speed transmission. In addition to the $332 million facility investment, GM will invest an additional $57 million for vendor tooling, containers and investments at other locations necessary to support the Toledo operations. Construction is slated to begin in July, and production of the transmission is scheduled to begin in February 2010. The project will retain about 600 hourly jobs.

"Six-speed transmissions play a key role in GM's commitment to change the way the world drives," said John Buttermore, GM Powertrain vice president of global manufacturing. "With more fuel-efficient transmissions and engines, as well as advanced propulsion technologies like flex fuels, hybrids and fuel cells, GM is transforming its product portfolio to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, while maintaining outstanding driving performance. The GM Powertrain Toledo plant and the new fuel-efficient products we are bringing here are integral in that transformation."

The investment announced today is in addition to a $540 million investment GM announced last year for rear-wheel-drive six-speed transmission production at the Toledo Transmission plant. Construction of the 400,000 sq. ft. project is about two months ahead of schedule.

"GM's investments in Ohio, totaling close to $1 billion in the last year, is a significant vote of confidence in our employees and UAW Local 14 who have demonstrated their commitment and dedication to benchmark performance that is contributing to the company's turnaround," Buttermore said.

Buttermore thanked Ohio's leaders on the federal, state, county and local levels – including Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner – for providing the business case to support GM's investments in Ohio."

"GM is making an enormous commitment to the State of Ohio and I commend them for their investment in our state," said Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. "This is good news for Ohio workers and a testament to the great value of our highly skilled workforce and competitive business climate."

The new 6T40/45 transmission provides improved fuel economy and performance and features a compact, contemporary design. It allows the vehicle to stay in first gear longer, improving launch and acceleration. It also retains an overdrive in top gear for low-rpm highway cruising. The transmission's gear set is on the same axis as the engine crankshaft centerline, which makes the entire powertrain more compact. This provides chassis designers more flexibility in designing the vehicle's interior space compared to a conventional off-axis transaxle.

GM Powertrain's Toledo Transmission facility opened in 1916, and moved to its present location in 1955. For five consecutive years from 2000 to 2004 the Toledo Transmission Plant was ranked No. 1 in productivity by Harbour & Associates Inc.'s annual report on North American transmission and powertrain plants. The plant ranked No. 2 in 2005 and 2006. The 2.1 million sq. ft. plant employs 2,033 hourly and 265 salaried employees with an annual payroll of $276 million.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. More information on GM can be found at

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