ZF announces $200 million investment in US vehicle manufacture

February 9, 2021

By 2023, ZF plans to begin production of its PowerLine 8-speed automatic transmission in the USA (Courtesy ZF)

ZF, a German based company with its American headquarters in Livonia, Michigan, USA will begin investing $200 million in commercial vehicle manufacturing in North America. Beginning in 2023, ZF plans to produce its PowerLine 8-speed automatic transmission at the company’s manufacturing facility in Gray Court, South Carolina – a move which will result in over 500 local jobs.

At the end of 2020, ZF began production of the PowerLine 8-speed automatic transmission at its global headquarters in Friedrichshafen, Germany, beginning to serve North American consumers in 2021. The US base of PowerLine is the ZF Transmissions Gray Court in South Carolina – home to BMW, Michelin and other suppliers.

Since opening in 2012, the facility has produced 5.5 million automatic transmissions. Currently, the 157,000 m2 facility employs 2,200 people and has the capacity to produce 1.2 million transmissions per year. Once volume production begins in the US, it will serve the North American market exclusively.

“We started production in 2012 with our 8- and 9-speed automatic transmissions and quickly became a centre of manufacturing excellence. As a result, we’ve been expanding our manufacturing footprint since our grand opening,” stated Thomas Joos, vice president of ZF Transmissions Gray Court. “With the support of a dedicated workforce and collaborative regional partners, we are looking forward to adding the PowerLine to our facility.”

The ZF PowerLine transmission is designed for medium-duty commercial trucks, buses and heavy-duty pickup trucks. The transmission is based on ZF’s 8-speed automatic transmission design, which provides maximum spread with the fewest moving parts, reducing friction and the need for fluid. ZF PowerLine provides an incomparable total cost of ownership (TCO) with minimal maintenance, fuel efficiency potential in the double digits, and shift algorithms that are reported to promote up to 15% enhanced acceleration performance.

“ZF PowerLine proves equal, but, in most cases, higher performance and efficiency than other transmissions with 9 and 10 speeds. It will set the new benchmark for automatic transmission technology in the strategic North American commercial vehicle market,” commented Christian Feldhaus, Director Commercial Vehicle Driveline Technology North America, ZF. “With its modular design, PowerLine is prepared for mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, making it a true technology bridge to future mobility.”

Dr Martin Fischer, president of ZF North America and a member of the board of management stated, “ZF is a 106-year-old technology leader that has been in the US for many decades, and this investment in US manufacturing of sustainable driveline technology further proves our commitment to the North American commercial vehicle market.”


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