Before Chrysler sold its first eight-speed car, Sergio Marchionne announced that the plan was to buy the first units from ZF while the Kokomo Transmission Plant installed tooling and prepared to build them internally. The surprise for some Chrysler followers was how different the Chrysler-built 845RE transmission would be from the ZF HP8, not that the company would switch from buying them from ZF to building them in-house. The story with the nine-speed is similar.
Early on, according to “Mopar Sage,” the plan was to build the eight-speed 845RE at the Indiana Transmission Plant (ITP), but ITP did not have the floor space to build both the 65RFE (and its 66/68RFE variants) in high volume and set up the 845RE. The plan was quickly changed to install the new 845RE machinery at Kokomo, which had room when the 42RE/46RE transmissions were dropped; and would have even more when the 42RLE was dropped, for later phases and more volume. Thus, the six-speed rear-drive assembly line will be set up within IPT1 (Indiana Transmission Plant 1), along with the line for the nine-speed automatic. That is dubbed 948TE — nine speeds, 480 Nm (354 lb-ft) of torque capacity, transverse configuration, electronic control.
Currently, the Tipton plant is planned for the second and third phases of 948RE assembly — only assembly — and, eventually, the original first-phase assembly line may be moved to Tipton as well, leaving ITP1 dedicated to machining components for the 948RE. ITP1 will not be doing any aluminum machining, which will be kept at Kokomo and, in future, placed at ITP2 — after the Mercedes five-speed is phased out.
“Mopar Sage” claimed that Chrysler will be making 1.4 million nine-speed automatics each year, when production reaches full swing.
Raymond Aurand added: “I expect that roughly half that total will be 928 TE transmissions for vehicles with 4 cylinder transversly mounted engines [with] no need for the 480 NM torque capacity. The 280 NM torque capacity of the 928TE should be adequate for all 4 cylinder engines except for those built with turbochargers.”
Corrections: We accidentally claimed that Chrysler said it would make 1.4 million 948TEs per year, when we meant to write that our source claimed Chrysler would make 1.4 million nine speed automatics per year (of both types, low and high capacity). In addition, our earlier article indicated incorrectly that the 845RE name indicated a 5th revision — it actually stands for eight speeds, (45 x 10) Nm of torque — so a theoretical heavy-duty version, rated for 900 Nm torque capacity, would be named 890RE. Also see our eight-speed automatic (Torqueflite 8) and nine-speed automatic (948TE) pages.