UNTERGRUPPENBACH, Germany - German supplier Getrag plans to expand global transmission production.
Output should increase to 4.2 million units this year, up from 3.5 million units in 2004, CEO Dieter Schlenkermann says. All-wheel transmissions should climb to 1.5 million units this year, from 750,000 units in 2004.
The company expects revenues to rise to 4.2 billion euros by 2010, compared with 2.4 billion euros this year, or about $2.9 billion at current exchange rates, he says.
The predictions are based on booked business.
Getrag calls itself the world's largest independent producer of manual transmissions. In components for four-wheel-drive systems in cars, the company says it is catching up to market leader Magna International Inc.
Getrag is pinning its hopes on the dual-clutch transmission. The device speeds up gear shifts and uses less energy. 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 says.
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 considering production in Mexico.
To allow dual-clutch transmission production in Germany, Getrag has negotiated an 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 $156 million in German factories.
Getrag also is investing $421 million to build a factory in Kechnec, Slovakia.
The factory will produce motorcycle and dual-clutch transmissions starting in 2007.