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April 29, 2013 4:40 PM, EDT
Daimler Begins Production of New Transmissions
Howard S. Abramson/TT

GAGGENAU, Germany — Full production of Daimler Trucks’ first automated manual transmission for the North American market began here Monday at the company’s machining and assembly plants around this city as officials and journalists toured the facilities.

The transmissions are bound for the Freightliner truck plant in Cleveland, N.C., where they will be placed in Cascadia models beginning on May 6, company officials said. A limited number of transmissions have already been placed in pre-production test models.

Daimler Trucks North America will take over responsibility for assembling the transmissions — known as the DT12 — at some point in 2015 at a new assembly line the company is preparing at its Redford, Mich., engine plant outside Detroit.

The new line will employ some 115 workers when it opens in two years and will assemble units for its DD12, DD13 and DD16 engines for all the trucks it sells in North America.

Daimler officials said late last year they were investing $120 million to shift the transmission assembly to North America because they believe fleets there will quickly see the advantages to AMTs and shift their purchases to Daimler’s brand.

DTNA makes Freightliner and Western Star brand trucks in North America as well as Detroit brand engines, transmissions and axles.