Antonov, the UK-based automatic transmission specialist, says it is getting closer to bringing its TX-6 gearbox into production in China via a JV there.  

The joint venture with its Chinese manufacturing partner Chongqing Landai Industry Co Ltd, one of the leading gearbox suppliers in China, has been named the Chongqing EFA Transmission Co Ltd.

Antonov says it has now finished all the engineering design for a production version of the transmission, and will be building production intent transmissions within the next couple of months.  

All key suppliers for the final development build and production components have been selected, it says. 

This will enable transmissions to the production intent design to be installed into development and durability vehicles this summer for final evaluation at the company’s engineering headquarters in Warwick in the West Midlands.  To maintain progress, initial pre-production components will be supplied by European suppliers.  

Landai will then play a significant role in supplying final pre-production parts.   Ultimately, most parts will be manufactured in China to ensure the TX-6 transmission is competitively priced for the Chinese domestic market.

In parallel with the design and development of the transmission in the UK, it is claimed that Landai has also made significant progress in the building of a new manufacturing facility in the Chong Qing province of China as planned, whilst at the same time increasing prospective sales of the TX-6 among Chinese car makers. 

Planned start of production of the TX-6 remains the fourth quarter of 2011 as does the anticipated initial annual capacity of 200,000 units.  

Antonov says that Landai’s customers include Geely, Chery, Lifan, YuAn and FAW.  Six-speed automatic transmissions are much desired by Chinese motorists, but currently have to be imported at considerable expense by the domestic car makers, the firm adds.

Antonov says that the the major innovation in the TX-6 gearbox is the elimination of the traditional torque converter in a planetary transmission.  The combination of planetary gears and parallel transfer of torque and power reduces the cost, weight and size of the gearbox, whilst significantly improving mechanical efficiency, the firm maintains.

The firm adds that the production of front wheel drive vehicles in China with transversely mounted engines up to 270Nm torque is forecast to exceed 1.8 million vehicles in 2012 and the TX-6 ‘offers a competitive proposition for manufacturers in this market segment’.