UK-based automatic transmission specialist Antonov says it has secured its first customer order for its new TX-6 automatic gearbox. 

It will be the first 6-speed automatic transmission to be built in China.

Chongqing EFA Transmission, the 50/50 joint venture company established a year ago between Chongqing Landai Industry and Antonov, has signed a commitment to a purchase agreement with Lifan Motors for a minimum of 20,000 TX-6 transmissions to be supplied in 2012.  The minimum quantity can increase to 5,000 units per month.

Construction by EFA of a brand new factory in Chongqing, which forms part of a major new automotive manufacturing complex by Landai, is described as 'well underway with start of production scheduled towards the end of 2011'.  

Lifan Motors, which is part of the Lifan Group in Chongqing, will provide EFA with 10 LF620 vehicles for final mechanical installation and vehicle calibration of the TX-6 into its mid-sized family saloon.

Ni Hongfu, president of LIFAN's Powertrain Division, commented: “We have been working with ntonov for some time, and after seeing the TX-6 transmission successfully installed into our LF620 vehicle, we are now happy to make a commitment to purchase 20,000 transmissions during 2012 for our LF620 programme.  This will make this vehicle much more marketable to both our domestic and export customers.”

Jos E. Haag, Antonov’s chairman and CEO, commented:  “I am very happy to have come now to the point where we can be commercially successful with Antonov’s TX-6 in China.  It is excellent that we have the first agreement with Lifan, the company we have already two ongoing projects with and which is one of the OEM’s in the automotive industry in China with a strong growth.  Furthermore it is great to have the first customer in Chongqing, the home of Landai as well as EFA.  Now that we have secured the first agreement, we are in a very good position to win additional clients for the TX-6.”

Antonov’s TX-6 automotive gearbox is an electronically controlled and hydraulically actuated automatic transmission. 

Antonov says that major technical innovations in the TX-6 gearbox include the elimination of the traditional torque converter from a planetary transmission resulting from the 'novel layout of epicyclic gearsets in two parallel shafts, instead of the usual single shaft arrangement found in conventional automatic transmissions'.  This more compact twin-shaft layout for the transfer of torque and power has helped reduce the cost, weight and size of the gearbox, whilst significantly improving mechanical efficiency, Antonov says.