LUDWIGSBURG, Germany - Transmission supplier Getrag GmbH says it plans to more than double its gearbox production to 1.7 million units a year by 2002.
Getrag has two plants in the United States and five in Germany, and two engineering centers in Ludwigsburg and Sterling Heights, Mich.
The company has just opened a plant in Bari, Italy, to supply gearboxes to the Rover 75 and for General Motors' Astra and Vectra platforms worldwide.
The new plant will produce more than 500,000 gearboxes a year with a work force of 800 when it reaches full production in 2000.
Investment in the plant will total 373.5 million German marks ($218 million), 40 percent of which has been paid for by regional subsidies.
Family-owned Getrag, based in Ludwigsburg, is a major independent supplier to European carmakers. Getrag currently produces 650,000 gearboxes a year with a work force of 4,700.
Recent new-model launches using Getrag gearboxes include the semiautomatic transmission in the Smart car from Micro Compact Car and a gearbox for the Jaguar S-Type.
GM encouraged Getrag to invest in Italy in order to raise the Italian content of its cars. Getrag started work on the plant in December 1996, and began volume production in August of this year.
Half of the suppliers to the plant are based in Germany. A third are based in Italy.