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Spotlight on Indiana II: Nine-speed Transmissions

TorqueFlite production with global reach

September 10, 2015

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The first 948TE nine-speed transmission built at the Tipton Transmission Plant (Ind.), signed by employees.

The first nine-speed automatic transmission rolled off the Indiana Transmission Plant I (ITPI) line in May 2013 before moving to the new Tipton Transmission Plant (Ind.) a year later. Both facilities contributed to reaching the 1 million mark in just 28 months, recently celebrating this accomplishment in September.

“Five years ago, when the Company announced that it would build the nine-speed automatic transmission in Indiana, it was a huge vote of confidence in the skills, knowledge and expertise of our local workforce, especially because ITPI would be the first plant ever to build the nine-speed,” said Brian Harlow, Vice President – Manufacturing, FCA North America. “This was a significant challenge, but an even greater opportunity. There was a lot riding on our employees’ ability to deliver.”

Now Tipton Transmission is the global hub for nine-speeds and the Company’s nearby facilities contribute to the process: Kokomo Casting Plant (Ind.) produces castings for the new transmission; Kokomo Transmission machines the prismatic parts – housings, blocks and heads; and ITPI produces the rotating parts – gears and cranks. All components are then shipped to Tipton for final assembly.

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    28 months after the first 948TE nine-speed automatic rolled off the line at the Indiana Transmission Plant I, the 1 millionth transmission was assembled at Tipton Transmission Plant on Sept. 3.

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    The new Jeep Renegade became the world’s first small SUV with a nine-speed automatic transmission. This transmission delivers a smooth driving experience and improved fuel efficiency.

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    A TorqueFlite transmission can account for fuel-economy improvements of up to 9 percent, compared with conventional automatics.

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    An employee at Tipton Transmission Plant (Ind.) installs a gasket on a case for the nine-speed transmission to ensure a proper seal when the bell housing is attached.

TorqueFlite production with global reach
FCA US also recently announced that its nine-speed assembled in Indiana has joined the TorqueFlite family of automatic transmissions.

The TorqueFlite automatic transmission has a long history, dating back to 1956. First introduced in Imperial models, TorqueFlite transmissions were known for having superior performance while also being extremely tough and reliable. The new nine-speed embodies those same characteristics in a modern-day package.

Depending on the application, a TorqueFlite transmission can account for fuel economy improvements of up to 9 percent, compared with a more conventional automatic. Fully electronic, the TorqueFlite family’s software adapts the transmission’s shift patterns to driver behavior and driving conditions such as acceleration; grade steepness; temperature; and electronic stability control.

When it reaches full capacity, Tipton will ship about 800,000 finished transmissions a year. The Tipton-built nine-speeds are then sent to Toledo, Ohio, for use in the Jeep Cherokee and to Sterling Heights, Mich., for the Chrysler 200, as well as to FIAT plants in Melfi, Italy and Pernambuco, Brazil for the Jeep Renegade; the TOFAS plant in Bursa, Turkey for the Ram ProMaster City; and China. The potential also exists to expand production to other international facilities as needed.

This story is the second installment in a three-part series about Kokomo, Ind. See the next installment here.