SHANGHAI – China’s transmission manufacturing giant Shaanxi Fast Gear Co., Ltd. (Fast Gear) announced at a press conference on April 19 at Auto Shanghai 2011 that it has entered into a long-term agreement with WABCO, an international supplier of safety and control systems, to develop its new heavy-duty AMT F-Shift transmission with WABCO’s OptiDrive system, a new technology in transmission automation.
As agreed, WABCO will furnish its OptiDrive systems for Fast Gear’s platform of new F-Shift transmission products, which can be applied to all types of heavy-duty vehicles. Quantity production of the F-Shift transmissions is expected to begin this year.
WABCO’s OptiDrive system improves vehicle control and driver effectiveness by automating and optimizing gear shifting. It can reduce fuel consumption by up to 5 percent, a major cost saving and environmental benefit over the vehicle lifetime.
“WABCO’s OptiDrive breakthrough allows emerging markets to participate in the trend of rapidly increasing adoption of transmission automation technology, particularly in China, India and Brazil,” said Hans-Jrgen Sander, vice president of WABCO.
In addition to the new F-Shift transmission project, Fast Gear also announced at the auto show that its 16-speed AMT transmission has entered mass production and has been supplied to Chinese truck makers including Shaanxi Auto, Hualing and JAC. A 12-speed AMT transmission is in the test phase and the company is in the course of developing a 6-speed AMT transmission.
Li Dakai, chairman of Shaanxi Fast Auto Drive Group (Fast Group), parent company of Fast Gear, said the company will not expect a large sales volume of the F-Shift in one or two years, however, as the new transmission product gains more awareness and acknowledgement in the industry, sales of the F-Shifte should pickup throughout the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015).
By launching the F-Shift, said Li, Fast Gear’s product lineup will be extended and the heavy-duty transmission varieties on the Chinese market will be enriched. Li also noted that to domestic suppliers, the biggest support from the government is that it treats them equally with their foreign counterparts.
Regarding the price of the F-Shift, Li revealed that it will only be more expensive by a few thousand RMB yuan than traditional automatic transmissions.
As introduced, by taking up 80 percent of the market share in China, Fast Group has an annual output capacity of 1 million transmissions, 50 million gears and 100,000 tons of automotive forgings. The sales and production revenues both surpassed ¥12.6 billion ($1.91 billion) in 2010 and the company raked in sales revenue of ¥3.73 billion in the first quarter of this year, up 13 percent over the same period of 2010.