Green Cronies and Phonies

by Greg Pollowitz

Henry posted on what’s going on at the Delphi plant in Kokomo — but there are other shenanigans besides green cronyism. Call it green phonyism. 

What President Obama and his green team won’t admit is that those jobs saved in Kokomo were saved because American are buying big, gas-guzzling cars — not the hybrids or “green” vehicles the administration wants us to buy:

Chrysler Group has said it will partner with German-based ZF Group on the next generation front-wheel drive transmission, which is providing design and technology.

“For years, Kokomo has been at the center of our powertrain strategy and the potential of an additional investment reaffirms that position,” said Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler Group LLC. “When introduced, this new front-wheel drive transmission, along with the previously announced eight-speed transmission we will also produce in Kokomo, will transform our future products and position them as leaders in marketplace.”

The Indiana Transmission Plant I in Kokomo now makes a rear-wheel-drive transmission for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Liberty, Dodge Dakota and Ram Trucks and a transmission for heavy-duty trucks. Transmission Plant II makes a five-speed transmission for the Chrysler 300, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Nitro and Dodge Charger. The Kokomo Casting Plant manufactures aluminum parts for transmissions and other components.

And the eight-speed, fuel-saving transmission of the future? It’s German technology:

Chrysler is set to become the first U.S.-based automaker to adopt eight-speed automatic transmissions. ZF announced on Wednesday that it has reached an agreement to provide its increasingly widely used 8HP transmission for Chrysler applications. Initially, ZF will build transmissions for Chrysler, but the automaker is also getting a license to produce the transmissions in-house. Chrysler will tool up its Kokomo, IN transmission plant by 2013 to produce the 8HP and at the same time ZF will build a new American plant of its own.

No product has been announced to use the transmission, but since this a longitudinal unit, it will likely be the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger/Challenger and SUVs like the new Jeep Grand Cherokee. The 8HP is already in use by BMW for the 5 and 7 Series and Volkswagen Group for the Touareg, Audi Q7 and A8 and Porsche Cayenne.

Hey, I’m all for saving fuel, but a fancy transmission isn’t going to change the m.p.g. game for any of the cars on which Chrysler will use it.

Planet Gore

The hot blog.