General Motors Co. will spend $260 million to start manufacturing fuel-efficient, eight-speed transmissions at its Toledo transmission plant. The Blade newspaper and the Associated Press said that the plant will start production of the transmissions in late 2012 and also that it will create up to 400 jobs.
The announcement, which is scheduled to take place in Tuesday, will be made by GM CEO Dan Akerson.
Expected to attend the event are Ohio Gov. John Kasich, UAW Vice President Joe Ashton as well as other GM and government officials. The AP said that these new workers will be paid $14 an hour, approximately half of what veteran employees are paid.
While GM does not produce noncommercial vehicles with eight-speed transmissions, it has presented a prototype for the eight-speed electric hybrid Buick Enclave at this year’s Shanghai auto show. The Toledo plant builds the Hydra-matic 6L80 rear-wheel-drive six-speed transmission that the Chevrolet Corvette and the Cadillac Escalade uses.
It also rolls out the global front-wheel-drive six-speed seen in the Chevrolet Cruze and Malibu. On which models the new eight-speed transmission will be used has yet to be determined.
It’s also unclear if the transmission will be fwd or rwd. In February 2006, GM invested $540 million on the plant to build the six-speed rwd transmission. In May 2007, GM spent $332 million on the factory to produce the six-speed fwd transmission.