Antonov CEO John Moore will present a technical update of its 6-speed automatic transmission—likely to be the first 6-speed automatic to be built in China—at a technical forum being held on 22 April 2008 at the Beijing Auto Show. (Earlier post.)
|The new AT150 6-speed automatic transmission will first be targeted at domestic China manufacturers, but eventually will be exported. Click to enlarge.|
Antonov signed an agreement with Loncin in September 2007 to set up a manufacturing joint venture. The joint venture will be formed once Antonov has completed the installation of its transmission system in 1.6-liter VW Golf mule vehicles and when Loncin has completed detailed production planning and costing.
Development vehicles with prototype transmissions have just started running in the UK and the production planning is due to be completed in May 2008. Antonov and Loncin expect to run customer vehicles from September 2008 onwards with a planned start of production for vehicle programs commencing mid-2010.
To fully prepare for its joint venture with Loncin, Antonov is establishing a wholly owned foreign enterprise at Chong Qing, where the two companies plan to set up their automatic transmission manufacturing plant. Initial sales will be targeted at Chinese domestic car makers, but the intention in the longer term is to export. The initial production capacity is planned at 200,000 units per annum.
The wholly owned foreign enterprise at Chong Qing provides a stronger organizational basis for Antonov’s Chinese activities, supported by a restructured European operation concentrated in a new technical centre at Warwick in the UK.
The Chong Qing enterprise and Warwick technical centre are both helping with the continued commercialization of Antonov’s patents and intellectual property, which is currently focused on a number of technologies including a low cost four-speed automatic transmission targeted at emerging markets.
Other technologies include a two-speed automatic mechanical module. Initial production is for a dual-speed supercharger with additional applications to engine front-end accessory drives under development. The module is aimed at both aftermarket and high volume original equipment market.
The two-speed self-controlling drive unit is also suited for electric vehicles, which can benefit from a lower start ratio for better acceleration and higher cruise ratio to reduce driveline noise and improve energy efficiency.