Getrag expects dual-clutch technology to boost sales

Untergruppenbach. German supplier Getrag wants to expand globally with new transmissions.

CEO Dieter Schlenkermann said revenues will rise to 4.2 billion euros by 2010, compared to 2.4 billion euros this year, or about $2.9 billion at current exchange rates.

As a result, transmission production should increase to 4.2 million units this year, up from 3.5 million units in 2004. All-wheel transmissions should climb to 1.5 million units this year, from 750,000 units in 2004.

The predictions are based on booked business.

Getrag is characterizing itself as the "world's largest independent producer" of manual transmissions. In components for four-wheel-drive systems in passenger cars, the company says it is catching up to market leader Magna International. Inc.

Dual-clutch hopes

Getrag is pinning its hopes on the dual-clutch transmission.

The device reduces energy- and speeds up gear shifts. The key is a second clutch in the transmission that prepares the next gear before the shift.

The innovation competes with conventional transmissions and "at a minimum, will be offered at the same price," Schlenkermann said.

The technology is being adopted in Europe and is expected to arrive later in North America and Asia. Getrag is planning joint projects in China and is contemplating production in Mexico.

To allow dual-clutch transmission production in Germany, Getrag has negotiated a "future security" agreement with 3,500 employees. In return for job security through 2011, employees agreed to wage reductions.

In exchange, Getrag also agreed to invest nearly 130 million euros, or $156 million, in German factories.

In addition, Getrag is building a factory in Kechnec, Slovakia, with an investment of 350 million euros, or $421 million. The factory will build motorcycle and dual-clutch transmissions starting in 2007.

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