Photo courtesy of ZF
Zf Gray Court

ZF invests $200 million in North American commercial vehicle transmission manufacturing

Feb. 10, 2021
The additional production line in South Carolina will result in more than 500 U.S. jobs.

ZF announced it is investing $200 million in commercial vehicle transmission manufacturing in North America. Beginning in 2023, ZF will produce the ZF PowerLine 8-speed automatic transmission at the company's state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Gray Court, South Carolina. The additional production line at ZF Gray Court will result in more than 500 American jobs.

"ZF is a 106-year-old technology leader that has been in the U.S. for many decades, and this investment in U.S. manufacturing of sustainable driveline technology further proves our commitment to the North American commercial vehicle market," said Dr. Martin Fischer, president of ZF North America and member of the board of management. "Together now with WABCO, ZF offers customers around the world an unrivaled product portfolio that includes driveline, steering, braking, ADAS technologies, and telematics, coupled with a full-service network."

The ZF PowerLine transmission is designed for medium duty commercial vehicle trucks, buses, and heavy duty pickup trucks. The transmission is based on ZF's 8-speed automatic transmission benchmark design, which provides maximum spread with fewer moving parts, reduced friction, and less fluid. ZF PowerLine provides an incomparable total cost of ownership (TCO) with minimal maintenance, best-in-class fuel efficiency potential in the double digits, and highly integrated shift algorithms that promote up to 15 percent enhanced acceleration performance, the company states.

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

ZF began production of the PowerLine 8-speed automatic transmission at its global headquarters in Friedrichshafen, Germany, at the end of 2020 and made its first supply to North American customers in 2021. In 2023, volume production will begin in the U.S. and will exclusively serve North American market demand.

The U.S. home of PowerLine is ZF Transmissions Gray Court, located in Gray Court, South Carolina, just outside of Greenville – home to BMW, Michelin, and other top global suppliers. "We started production in 2012 with our 8- and 9-speed automatic transmissions and quickly became a center of manufacturing excellence,” said Thomas Joos, vice president of ZF Transmissions Gray Court. “As a result, we've been expanding our manufacturing footprint since our grand opening. With the support of a dedicated workforce and collaborative regional partners, we are looking forward to adding the PowerLine to our facility."

Since opening in 2012, the facility has produced 5.5 million automatic transmissions. Today, the 1,687,000 square-foot facility employs 2,200 people with capacity to produce 1.2 million transmissions per year.