Car and truck transmission manufacturer ZF Friedrichshafen AG has started a $200-million expansion of its South Carolina plant, where it plans to start producing the ZF PowerLine 8-speed automatic transmission in 2023. The ZF Powerline is designed for medium-duty commercial vehicles, buses, and heavy-duty pickups, and based on ZF's 8-speed automatic transmission, “which provides maximum spread with fewer moving parts, reduced friction, and less fluid.”
"ZF PowerLine proves equal, but in most cases, higher performance and efficiency than other transmissions with 9 and 10 speeds,” stated Christian Feldhaus, ZF’s director commercial vehicle driveline technology, North America. “It will set the new benchmark for automatic transmission technology in the strategic North American commercial vehicle market,” he continued noting it is adaptable to mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicle platforms.
ZF began producing the PowerLine 8-speed automatic transmission at its global headquarters in Friedrichshafen, Germany, at the end of 2020. It is being supplied to North American customers now, and the transmissions produced in South Carolina beginning in 2023 will be supplied exclusively to the North American market.
The plant at Gray Court, S.C., near Greenville, opened in 2012 and produces 1.2 million transmissions annually. The nearby BMW assembly plant is believed to be among ZF’s customers.
In addition to the 2,200 workers already employed at Gray Court, ZF indicated that the expansion will result in 500 new positions.