Volvo Trucks and Mack Trucks have started production of their respective automated transmissions at the Volvo Group’s Hagerstown, MD, powertrain facility. Both companies are subsidiaries of the Volvo Group.
Volvo’s I-Shift and Mack’s mDrive transmissions had previously been built overseas in Köping, Sweden, and then sent to Hagerstown for adaptation to North American market requirements.
Volvo introduced its I-shift to the North American market in 2007 and it has grown in popularity since then, reaching inclusion in more than 40% of Volvo trucks sold in 2011. The transmission includes a grade sensor, hill start assist, skip shifting and Eco-Roll.
“This is an important addition to our North American production capabilities and highlights I-Shift’s tremendous growth since its introduction more than five years ago to the North American market,” said Ron Huibers, president, Volvo Trucks North American sales & marketing. “I-Shift has been a game-changer, providing Volvo customers clear fuel efficiency and productivity improvements. We’re glad to see the industry now adopting this type of technology.”
The transmission is a key component in Volvo’s XE fuel-efficiency powertrain package, which is designed to lower engine rpm to allow it to run in its sweet spot more often. The XE package is available on 13L D13 and 16L D16 engines.
“Expanding our manufacturing activities in the U.S. is important to Mack,” said Kevin Flaherty, president of Mack Trucks North American sales & marketing. “Bringing mDrive assembly to the Hagerstown facility while also meeting the growing demand we’ve seen since the transmission’s introduction in 2010 exemplifies our commitment to investing in what our customers need.”
Volvo Group spent $8 million on new assembly lines, equipment, tooling and employee training in Hagerstown to facilitate the shift of production.