Chrysler’s Kokomo commital

Kokomo, Indiana, is the seat of Howard County, located about an hour north of Indianapolis along U.S. 31 about halfway to South Bend. It’s been a landmark in the automotive world going back more than a century to when Elwood Haynes built his first internal-combustion carriage there in 1894, the first year that the first pneumatic tire produced in the United States was tested nearby. Haynes’ carriage eventually became the pioneering Haynes-Apperson automobile. Delco, as the General Motors electronic subsidiary was then known, had a major factory in Kokomo. More recently, Kokomo is home to a terrific eponymous speedway that sells a really good grilled pork chop sandwich while also serving up non-wing 410 Sprint cars. The city has long been a Chrysler stronghold. Today, its parent company, Stellantis, operates three major powertrain plants in Kokomo that employ more than 7,000 workers.

Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb (left) and Stellantis Head of Powertrain Operations Brad Clark sign the 5 millionth eight-speed transmission produced at the Kokomo Transmission Plant following an event on Oct. 7, 2021, where the company announced an investment of $229 million in three of its Kokomo, Indiana, plants to produce an electrified, fourth-generation eight-speed. The new transmission will have the flexibility to be paired with internal combustion engines, as well as mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid propulsion systems, for vehicles across a number of Stellantis brands and will help the company reach its goal of achieving 40% low-emission vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030.

That pentastar presence – sorry, couldn’t resist – got a significant boost last week when Stellantis announced a $229 investment in all three of its existing Kokomo plants, where a fourth-generation version of its eight-speed automatic transmission will be produced for Dodge- and Ram-badged Stellantis vehicles with mild or plug-in hybrid powertrains. The electrified eight-speed will be directly adaptable to existing Stellantis internal-combustion engines as part of the firm’s goal to have low-emissions vehicles account for 40 percent of its U.S. sales by 2030. The guy on the left of the Stellantis photo is Eric J. Holcomb, the governor of Indiana, who joined with Stellantis powertrain chief Brad Clark is autographing another Kokomo automotive benchmark, the 5 millionth eight-speed automatic, which the Kokomo Transmission Plant assembled last week.

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