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Business, Economy and Consumer Affairs

Stellantis to build new transmission in Indiana, help meet company's electrification plans

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Samantha Horton/IPB News
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Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore, UAW Region 2B director Wayne Blanchard, Gov. Eric Holcomb, Stellantis powertrain operations head Brad Clark and director of operations David Dukes sign the 5 millionth eight-speed transmission built at the plant.

Stellantis, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), will be investing more than $200 million to retool three plants in Kokomo as a part of the company's electric vehicle plans. Company officials say the investment will prepare the automotive manufacturer for the future and protect Hoosier jobs.

The new eight-speed transmission will be a “multi-tool” that is able to be used in three types of vehicles including internal combustion engines and two types of hybrids, mild hybrid or plug-in hybrid.

The fourth-generation transmission is a part of the company’s electrification goals of reaching forty-percent low-emission vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030.

Brad Clark is head of powertrain operations. He said the investment in the new versatile machine will prevent 662 employees from losing their jobs.

“In this case here, we're able to retool and utilize a workforce that's already trained and knows how to build transmissions and retain those positions,” said Clark.

Clark did not give details on when the new transmission will start being produced.

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This is the second investment for the company over the last two years. In March 2020, then-FCA announced it would be producing an engine for the first time in Indiana and is expected to start later this year.

Wayne Blanchard, United Automobile Workers Region 2B director, said he appreciates the company’s innovation and including workers in the transformation.

“It's the UAW members that's touching that steel, pressing those buttons on those machines, and putting those components in those transmissions and the engines that's making this possible,” said Blanchard. “And it's a testament that we got a good workforce here in Kokomo, Indiana.”

Stellantis’s transmission investment comes about a week after Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an agreement with other Midwest state governors to create a network of vehicle charging stations.

Holcomb said the investment Stellantis is making in Kokomo will help keep the state competitive in an automotive industry that’s increasingly moving towards the electrification of cars.

"Racing's in our blood, we like to be in the pole position. We have such a rich heritage and past in the automotive industry," said Holcomb. "To think about where we want to be 10, 20, 30 years when Stellantis does celebrate its 100th anniversary, we have to make decision–policy decisions today to remain an attractive ecosystem."

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation is offering Stellantis up to $19.25 million in conditional tax credits and up to $300,000 in training grants.

Contact reporter Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.