What’s In a Name?

Ford is transforming what it going on in what was once a traditional transmission plant

By Gary S. Vasilash

While what has long been known as the “Ford Van Dyke Transmission Plant,” a 2-million square-foot factory in suburban Detroit, didn’t make a transmission until 1993, even though it had been established in 1968 (when it was a suspension components plant), the sign visible on Van Dyke Avenue, after a generation is undergoing a change.

Now it is the “Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center.”

Sign of change. (Image: Ford)

Inside they are going from just making the classic step-gear (a.k.a., “automatic”) transmission to electric motors and electric transaxles for full electric and hybrid vehicles.

Production of the Ford eMotor will begin at the plant this summer. Early next year the electric transmission (“eTrans”) manufacture will commence.

Ford spent $150-million in the plant to prepare it for its new role.

Things are clearly changing.

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