Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has named ZF Friedrichshafen as its global transmission supplier for rear wheel drive and all wheel drive vehicles with front longitudinal drive configuration.

ZF will supply its latest eight speed automatic transmission in what is the second largest single order in the tier one supplier's history.

This newest version of the proven transmission has been further optimised with an integrated electric drive for hybrid variants.

The ZF plant in Saarbrueken will be the lead production facility for this new (fourth) transmission generation which starts series production in 2022.

Output at other locations including the US and China is planned for later.

The supplier said the new transmission could be installed in almost all vehicle segments with a front longitudinal drive configuration while optional electric drive helps automakers achieve CO2 reduction goals.

"With this modular transmission concept, manufacturers will be able to easily change from one transmission variant to another which gives them the flexibility to react to market requirements," ZF said.

ZF is also supplying a nine-speed automatic specially configured for diesel engines used in tough light commercial vehicle operating conditions. The transmission replaces a 'robotised' automated manual used previously in FCA Group division Fiat Professional's popular Ducato line which has just been updated for 2020.

Three months ago, ZF signed a first contract with BMW for eight speed transmissions similar to the FCA units – its largest single order ever.

"[The FCA deal] is our second major order for the new 8HP and it confirms our strategy to focus on plug-in hybrids as an everyday solution and to develop attractive products in these areas", said ZF CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider.