GM announcement about Toledo built product - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

GM announcement about Toledo built product

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Powertrain is gearing up to build an all new transmission and GM has just announced the Toledo built product will be going into another vehicle. The new 8 speed line has already meant hundreds of millions in investment in Toledo as well as more than 100 new jobs.

As we first told you in January, the 8 speed is going in the supercharged Corvette Z06. Now you can add the 2015 Corvette Stingray to the list. There's speculation the new Toledo product will also be going into other vehicles and union leaders hope that means even more work at the plant.

There are more than 400 horses powering the Stingray and an 8 speed Toledo built transmission. The transmission is not in full production yet but we had a rare opportunity to take it out for a test drive, in the passenger seat of course. Bob Widmer is the launch manager for the 8 speed line, "You get lightening fast shifts.  Faster than manual and faster than a lot of high end performance vehicles. It also has a lighter transmission with two more gears. You have more shifting but you don't feel the jumps in between."

Right now the Corvette models are the only vehicles the 8 speed is going in but there's speculation that won't be the case for long, "It's too early to discuss product proliferation but stay tuned. So is there the potential this transmission will end up in other cars? Absolutely!"

The new line means about 125 new jobs at the plant. Ray Wood is the head of the union that represents the workers. He hopes it will eventually drive in even more jobs, "We're hoping the more 8 speeds we build the more lines we will have to build for them which would mean more work. That's what we're anticipating."

Widmer says the 8 speed transmission will be built alongside the current 6 speed rear wheel drive lines, "We're integrating to the current six speed rear wheel drive line. So both transmissions will run down the same line. The 8 speed does branch off for some dedicated 8 speed equipment but they all start and end in the same place."

Wood says there's plenty of room in the plant for more new lines and he believes the Toledo workforce has positioned itself well to land new work, 'The greatest engineers and technicians within GM would be nothing without the men and women on the floor who are dedicated and passionate about what they do. It is a real tem effort"

GM will gradually ramp up production of the new 8 speed. Right now launch teams are on the lines. Starting in May they'll bring some workers onto the lines, with more coming on in June. Production should be at full speed in the fourth quarter of 2014. As you may know, they also build 6 speed front and rear wheel drive transmissions in Toledo. Employees build more than 5,000 6 speed transmissions every day.

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