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Chrysler Starts Producing 9-Speed Auto At Tipton Facility

After years of sitting idle, the American manufacturer recently celebrated the reopening of its facility in Tipton County. With the help of three nearby facilities located in Kokomo, the Indiana-based plant will manufacture an all-new nine-speed automatic transmission.
Chrysler ZF 9HP nine-speed transmission 11 photos
Photo: Chrysler
Chrysler ZF 9HP nine-speed transmissionTipton Transmission PlantTipton Transmission PlantChrysler ZF 9HP nine-speed gearbox & Tipton Transmission PlantChrysler ZF 9HP nine-speed gearbox & Tipton Transmission PlantChrysler ZF 9HP nine-speed gearbox & Tipton Transmission PlantChrysler ZF 9HP nine-speed gearbox & Tipton Transmission PlantChrysler ZF 9HP nine-speed gearbox & Tipton Transmission PlantTipton Transmission PlantTipton Transmission Plant
The first American production vehicle to be fitted with the ZF 9HP gearbox was the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, which was followed by the 2015 Chrysler 200 mid-size luxury sedan. Jaguar and Land Rover adopted the new unit as well, while the Mercedes-Benz E350 CDI BlueTec uses an in-house developed 9G-Tronic transmission.

But why do you need gears that rival the number of those fitted to a mountain bike? Simply put, those extra cogs offer three main advantages: improved comfort, better mpg figures and better kick-down response. According to ZF officials, the 9HP can save up to 16 percent more fuel than a normal six-speed automatic, while shift times are kept below the threshold of human perception.

The 9HP gearbox was specially developed for front-transverse drive cars due to the fact that over 75 percent of modern passenger vehicles built around the world feature this type of engine and driveline layout.

Chrysler's Tipton Transmission Plant is the first American facility to industrialize the nine-speed automatic. According to Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the plant will initially employ about 600 workers by the end of the year.

Transmissions built in the 782,000 square-foot facility will be exported to Italy, Turkey, Brazil and China as well. When it reaches full capacity, Tipton will ship about 800,000 finished transmissions to Toledo, Ohio, for use in the Jeep Cherokee and Sterling Heights, Michigan, for the Chrysler 200.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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