The opening of ZF Transmission’s first U.S. passenger car transmission plant will bring 450 jobs and a $175 million investment, the company announced last week.
The company said in a release that the new plant will be its third expansion in four years, and will bring the company’s total investment to more than $600 million in South Carolina. By 2016, the number of employees is expected to increase from 1,200 to 1,650, according to the company.
ZF Transmissions Gray Court LLC manufactures eight-speed automatic transmission (8HP) and the world’s first nine-speed automatic transmission (9HP), which the company says cuts fuel consumption up to 19 percent when compared with a standard six-speed transmission. Previously, the eight-speed automatic transmission was only manufactured in Saarbrücken, Germany.
The 950,000-square-foot plant is expected to produce 1.2 million transmissions annually. The company also plans to expand on the existing capacities of its German 8HP plant. By 2016, a total of around 1.4 million square feet will be available so customers can be adequately served.
“We are honored to present the U.S. home of the automatic transmission,” said CEO Dr. Stefan Sommer, at the official plant opening in Gray Court last Friday. “This is an important step toward bridging the distance to our customers and having an even better opportunity of accessing North America, the most important foreign market for us.”