Antonov Signs Cooperation Agreement With Lifan and Landai
AUTO CENTRAL – June 2, 2009: Following previous announcements by Antonov regarding the possible formation of a manufacturing joint venture in China relating to its innovative TX-6 automatic transmission, the UK-based vehicle transmission specialist is pleased to announce it has signed a cooperation agreement with Chong Qing Landai Industries and Lifan Industry Group.
The agreement brings Lifan into the engineering programme to bring the TX-6 into production. The first step will be to build a TX-6 prototype into two Lifan 620 cars, which is expected to take about six months. Engineering costs will be covered jointly by Antonov and Landai. Once the project has been successfully completed, Lifan will be a preferred customer for the TX-6 and is expected to place an order for the first batch of transmissions to be produced.
COFTEC, a governmental body in the Chongqing province, has played a significant role in bringing the three parties together and will play a further role in governmental support of the projects.
Mr Zhu, chairman of Landai, commented: “I am very happy my company can participate in this activity, which will help us to become the major transmission manufacturer in China.” Mr Guan, vice president of Lifan commented: “We are impressed by the quality of the TX-6 prototype and want to secure at least the first 10,000 units produced plus a percentage of planned production we need.”
Mr. Hu representing COFTEC commented: “We are very pleased to have played a significant role in bringing the parties together and to give them strong support, which the government in Chongqing will continue to do in the future with all facilities being available.”
Dr. Jos E. Haag, executive chairman of Antonov commented: “I am delighted with the fast pace of progress in China and to have gained the support of Lifan as a Chinese car manufacturer.”
Six-speed automatic transmissions are much desired by Chinese motorists, but currently have to be imported by the domestic carmakers. Moreover, a major technical innovation in Antonov’s all-new TX-6 gearbox is the breakthrough it has achieved in transmission design by eliminating the traditional torque converter in a planetary transmission, thereby bringing the efficiency of an automatic gearbox much closer to that of a manual transmission.
The TX-6 also avoids the high capital investment as well as the cost, complexity and development issues associated with dual-clutch automated manual transmissions. Antonov’s hybrid combination of planetary gears and parallel transfers of power reduces the mass and size of the gearbox, whilst improving mechanical efficiency, as well as retaining the virtually seamless gearshifts of an automatic transmission. The TX-6 offers carmakers low development costs and, if required, the ease of introducing it into low volume production. The transmission is protected by worldwide patents.