LUDWIGSBURG, Germany - Transmission supplier Getrag GmbH plans to more than double its production of gearboxes to 1.7 million units a year by 2002, according to Managing Director Tobias Hagenmeyer.
The group has just opened a new plant at Bari, Italy, to supply gearboxes to the Rover 75 and for General Motors' Astra and Vectra platforms worldwide.
The new plant will produce over half a million gearboxes a year with a workforce of 800 when it reaches full production in 2000.
Investment in the plant will total DM373.5 million ($218 million), two-fifths 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 workforce of 4,700.
Recent new-model launches using Getrag gearboxes include the semi-automatic 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.
Getrag currently has five plants in Germany and two in the USA, and engineering centers in Ludwigsburg and Sterling Heights, Michigan.