ZF-Foton JV in China begins making auto transmissions for CVs

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 18 Apr 2019

Joint venture partners ZF and Foton will produce the innovative automatic transmission system TraXon for the Chinese market in Jiaxing.

German components and technology major ZF and Chinese commercial vehicle manufacturer Foton have opened a production plant in Jiaxing, to the south of Shanghai. The companies will focus primarily on the production of automated transmissions for heavy and light commercial vehicles.

The joint venture, known as ZF Foton HCV Automated Transmissions (Jiaxing), in which ZF holds a 51 percent share, is focused on heavy commercial vehicles. The main objectives of this enterprise are the production and marketing of ZF’s automatic commercial vehicle transmission system, TraXon, in China. The system will be integrated into commercial vehicles produced by Foton.

ZF’s modular TraXon transmission system ensures efficiency in CVs. The integrated ZF-Intarder auxiliary brake reduces wear on the service brakes and increases safety.

Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen, said, “In China, the demand for automated transmission systems for light and heavy commercial vehicles is growing strongly. Together with our partner Foton, we will produce our latest transmission technology in China and thus offer our local customers more efficiency, comfort and safety.”

Wolf-Henning Scheider

Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, speaks at the opening of the JV production plant in Jiaxing, south of Shanghai.

ZF claims that compared to manual transmissions, the Traxon transmission reduces fleet average fuel consumption by up to 5 percent.

Heyi Xu, CEO of Foton’s parent company BAIC Group, added: “This joint venture sees the joined hands of two industry leaders. It speaks for the product innovation and business capabilities of BAIC and ZF global leadership in transmission products and manufacturing. Both parties will leverage on their respective technology and strengths, form a modular and standard production platform to produce cutting-edge, efficient and intelligent transmission products for the world. We will provide Chinese customers of commercial vehicles the desired world-class products, leading the development of the sector.”

ZF Foton HCV Automated Transmissions (Jiaxing) has already begun production. Production capacities in Jiaxing will be expanded successively and this is where ZF will produce the Traxon 12-speed transmission for the Chinese market. With an efficiency factor of 99.7 percent, Traxon is the most efficient commercial vehicle transmission on the market today and can be combined with additional functions, ensuring its viability for future market developments. These functions include, for example, ZF’s predictive gearshift strategy ‘PreVision GPS’. With improved use of the rolling function this can further increase efficiency. The off-road and rock-free functions can improve the transmission performance during winter months, or in special vehicle applications.

Moreover, ZF Foton HCV will offer the Traxon transmission system together with the ‘Intarder’ transmission brake. This effectively brakes heavy trucks without strain or wear on the service brakes. The Intarder can increase safety and extend the service interval, thus offering additional cost advantages in practice. Production of the Intarder will also begin in Jiaxing, imminently.

A second joint venture, Foton ZF LCV Automated Transmissions (Jiaxing), in which ZF holds a 40 percent share, produces transmissions for light commercial vehicles in Jiaxing for the Chinese market.

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