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ZF to run and tool axle plant (updated)

by David Zatz on

Chrysler announced that it would contract with ZF Friedrichschafen AG to run a new axle factory in Marysville, Michigan, set to open in 2010 with a capacity of 500,000 axles per year. Chrysler will retain ownership of the building, and 350 employees of the nearby Chrysler axle plant will work there; while ZF will buy the equipment needed to run the plant, easing Chrysler’s cash flow. The plan has been in the works for a considerable time; ZF, which provides axles to all three German automakers and sells transmissions to BMW, hopes to supply other automakers using the facility, which will make high-efficiency components.

Chrysler has released some details on the new axles; they will be based on a ZF design, using aluminum housings which can cut 30-35 pounds and, in some cases, welded ring gears, which can cut another two pounds. Synthetic fluids work more effectively as a coolant while cutting resistance, lowering parasitic losses while increasing life, and avoiding the need to replace the lubricant. Advanced bearings will also reduce parasitic losses.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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