Gearing up for change
On June 1, the 14 companies falling within the Getrag Group and Getrag Ford Transmissions combined under the Getrag brand, making the company into one of the world leaders in transmissions.
On June 1, the 14 companies falling within the Getrag Group and Getrag Ford Transmissions combined under the Getrag brand, making the company into one of the world leaders in transmissions. Automotive Industries spoke to Tobias Hagenmeyer, Getrag’s chairman and CEO:
Automotive Industries (AI): Can you describe to our readers the new branding of Getrag corporate group?
Hagenmeyer: Since June 1, the Getrag Group and Getrag Ford Transmissions have combined their strengths into one brand: Under the brand name Getrag Corporate Group the know-how on transmission systems, drivetrain components and engineering services of the 14 Getrag Group sub-companies and of Getrag Ford Transmissions have been united.
The external appearance of all companies that belong to the Getrag Corporate Group is unified. In addition to the common brand name Getrag there is a new logo and a claim that stands for the values upon which the success and growth of the last years are based and on which future success will be built on: Precision, Passion, Partnership.
AI: What were the reasons behind this?
Hagenmeyer: The activities of the Getrag Group and Getrag Ford Transmissions have interlaced more and more in the last years.
With the new positioning we consequently reflect the size, the global focus and the broad range of services of all Getrag Corporate Group companies. We want to prove the international effectiveness and competitiveness of the complete group.
AI: What are the advantages and benefits to the customer that Dual Clutch Transmissions (DCT) offer?
Hagenmeyer: The Dual Clutch Transmission makes the dream of totally uninterrupted gear shifting come true. While one gear is engaged, the system has already preselected the next one. At the appropriate rev level one clutch is opened and the other is closed simultaneously so that there is no interruption of traction. Thanks to the intelligent software controls, sportiness and high comfort are guaranteed - with high efficiency at the same time.
AI: What is the average DCT potential for reduction of fuel consumption?
Hagenmeyer: We calculate about 10-15 % fuel efficiency benefits in the lower vehicle segment, 8-12% in the middle class segment and 4-8% in the luxury segment, compared with widespread 4, 5 or 6 speed automatics at the respective vehicle segment.
AI: Let’s look at future applications. Can you give us a short synopsis and outlook of your activities?
Hagenmeyer: We already have several orders for DCT applications in European and North American vehicles that will be in production within the next years. The range of applications varies from lower middle class up to super sports cars. We will start serial production in August next year at our newly built plant in Kechnec (Slovakia) and soon after that at our Neuenstein plant in Germany.
AI: The all – wheel drive business (AWD) is one of the fastest growing business sectors. How do you meet the market demands for improved traction & directional stability?
Hagenmeyer: The Getrag Driveline Systems and Getrag All Wheel Drive are two of our companies that don’t need to be afraid of any comparison when it comes to development and production of modern all-wheel drive solutions for the demanding European market. With these two companies, we give further support to our all-wheel drive competencies that we have built up on the American market since years and we put it on a global basis now. We have the potential to mass-produce AWD components and we use our development know-how to make new products such as electronically controlled front- and rear axles, PTUs and transfer cases that can also be integrated into the transmission and the whole drivetrain.
AI: Do you work on other solutions for further reduction of consumption and emissions?
Hagenmeyer: An obviously big trend is hybrid technology. We have already shown mild and full hybrid concepts during the last Frankfurt Motor Show. We combine the transmission types that have the best efficiency and the most intelligent control techniques - AMT and DCT - with one or two electric motors and create thus the mild and full hybrid transmissions that offer the presently most eco friendly drivetrains to our customers.
For the time beyond 2015 we consider it likely that one can buy fuel cell powered cars at affordable prices and we have a drive unit under development whose power to weight ratio outshines all alternative solutions that we know so far.
AI: Alternative Powertrain Technology. What are the biggest challenges you are facing in developing an integrated powertrain unit (E-motor, transmission, power electronics)?
Hagenmeyer: First of all, the hydrogen economy must establish and the storage problems of hydrogen and electric energy within the car have to be solved. But we are confident that this will happen within the next ten years because the worldwide dependency on oil allows few other possibilities. From a drivetrain point of view it is a feasible task. As I said before, we are already very happy with our results so far.
AI: You just entered into a joint venture in China together with the Jiangling Motor Company Group. How do you see Getrag corporate group positioned in China in the next five years?
Hagenmeyer: Market forecasts say that China will see further market growth within the next five years. We believe that the joint venture is a good solution to offer transmissions locally that are absolutely in line with the market regarding price and quality. And we are thus able to respond flexible to the dynamic changes that happen in China.