Toledo GM plant readies for new 8-speed transmission - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Toledo GM plant readies for 8-speed transmission

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It's a first at GM's Toledo transmission plant. Workers will build GM's new 8-speed transmission. The new transmission will mean better fuel economy for drivers, and it will eventually pump more jobs into the Toledo plant. Full production is still more than a year away, but a lot of work is underway to get ready for the new product line.

"You get smoother shifts and better gas mileage with an 8-speed transmission," says Bob Widmer. "It does a lot of little things that are better for the consumer. You might not notice the things, but you will see it on the back end when it comes to performance."

Widmer heads up the launch team working on the new product.

"A select few members of the launch team have gone up to Pontiac, Michigan to watch a tear-down or a build-up of the new 8-speed, but this is the first opportunity we've had in the Toledo plant to touch and feel the parts, to take it apart and put it back together for ourselves," he says.

Right now, they build 6-speed, front and rear wheel drive transmissions in Toledo. Construction crews have been working for months to get a section of the plant ready for the new product line, which will actually be a part of the existing rear wheel drive line.

"We're going to integrate the 8-speed transmission into our existing rear wheel drive operations," says Widmer "We'll do that by extending our assembly lines and adding new stations so that we can do both 6 and 8-speed work on the same line."

At this point, it's not clear just how many new jobs the new line will create, but it is clear that GM takes notice of the work done in Toledo.

"Toledo has done a good job at everything they've done," says Widmer. "The corporation is recognizing that by giving us another new product to build, and we still have more open floor space, so we may get another new product down the road. Time will tell."

The new 8-speed line will not be in full production until the first quarter of 2014. Right now, almost 6,000 6-speed transmissions are built in Toledo every day.

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