As a result of the strong demand for the Group's automated mechanical transmissions, the company in June announced that production of the Volvo I-Shift and Mack mDRIVE gearboxes will start at its U.S. engine plant in the third quarter of 2012.
Volvo Trucks introduced its I-Shift transmission on the North American market in 2007. During 2011, 45% of trucks with Volvo engines in North America were equipped with I-Shift and customers continue to report significant fuel economy improvements with the auto-shift transmission. Since I-Shift is only available together with Volvo engines, this also helps promote sales of the company's own engines. I-Shift incorporates a host of fuel-saving and productivity-enhancing features into a reliable, durable, and lightweight design.
The transmission is currently assembled in Köping, Sweden, and then sent to the US production plant in Hagerstown, Maryland for adaptation to North American market requirements. The company is now investing USD 7 M in Hagerstown to build a new assembly line, install new equipment and tooling, and train its employees. The new assembly line is primarily intended to supply the North American market.