2011 Chrysler 300

2011 Chrysler 300

We've known since the summer that Chrysler is planning a new range of eight-speed transmissions, licensed from ZF and built in the U.S., but this week the company announced it plans to move production dates up from their previous 2013 target. How early will we see the transmission? Chrysler hasn't said.

The transmissions have also moved plants: from the Indiana Transmission Plant to the Kokomo Transmission Plant, to better meet the new time frame. Along with the move comes another $85 million investment.

"We're moving eight-speed production to KTP because we're pulling production ahead and the timing worked better at KTP," said Brian Harlow, Chrysler vice president and head of powertrain manufacturing. "This move opens up space at ITPI to prepare the plant for production of the front-wheel drive transmission, which we announced in November."

The additional $85 million investment comes as part of a $1.3 billion plan to increase and build production capacity for front- and rear-drive automatic transmissions in the U.S.

The new eight-speed autos will debut in future Chrysler vehicles, with the 2011 Chrysler 300 to be among the first.