Antonov has announced that it has secured its first confirmed customer in China for its new TX6 six-speed automatic transmission system.

Following the recent demonstration of its technology in Chong Qing, Antonov says it has now received formal interest from Lifan Motors in relation to installing the transmission in its mid-sized sedans from late 2010.

The transmission, as fitted to a 1.6-litre demonstration vehicle, was driven in Chong Qing by seven interested carmakers.

The demonstration vehicle is currently at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which will support more demonstrations to another five potential customers. These include Geely, which has expressed strong renewed interest in the Antonov technology now that the performance and efficiency of its transmission system has been proven. Further high level meetings will be held with government agencies, customers and partners in China throughout December.

Antonov says its major innovation for an electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission is based on new kinematics (the motion of the gears) and structural design, which has achieved for the first time a combination of planetary gears and parallel transfers of power. Significantly, the traditional torque converter has been eliminated; reducing cost, weight and size, whilst improving mechanical efficiency, Antonov claims.

In addition, the transmission uses components similar to those of current production automatics, offering Chinese carmakers low development costs and the ease of introducing a new product into production. The transmission is protected by worldwide patents.

Antonov signed an agreement with Loncin in September 2007 to work together to set up a manufacturing joint venture in Chong Qing, where the two companies will set up their automatic transmission manufacturing plant.