Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has put in the second-largest single order in the history of auto parts maker ZF for its forthcoming, fourth-generation 8HP eight-speed automatic transmission. The new, longitudinal gearbox will commence production at ZF’s plant in Saarbruecken, Germany in 2022, and plans are in place for additional production sites in the United States and in China to contribute to the manufacturing volume.

The new-generation transmission integrates electric drive, which gives customers such as FCA the option of electrification for any model using this new gearbox, with the aim of offering both improved efficiency and stronger accelerative performance.

Designed for the front-longitudinal drive configuration in both rear- and all-wheel-drive forms, the new ZF 8HP transmissions will go into future FCA products likely to include forthcoming versions of the group’s larger models such as the Dodge Challenger and Charger, as well as its SUVs such as the Grand Cherokee. Others likely to benefit could be next-generation Ram pick-up trucks, Maseratis and Alfa Romeos.

This means models such as the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, though already at the top of the carmaker’s performance tree, could be up for a sizeable helping of performance boost, on top of what’s already possible from the firm’s 6.2 litre supercharged petrol V8, namely 840 hp and 1,044 Nm of torque.

Exact figures for the purchase agreement were not disclosed, although ZF executives said it was ‘not too far away’ from the value of the order made by BMW for similar transmissions in April, said to be ‘double-digit billion euros’, Automotive News reported.

The order by FCA would include a ‘significant share’ of hybrid transmissions, the report said, and adds that ZF is hoping strong demands for hybrids, especially plug-in versions, will help the firm in the industry’s transition from internal combustion to full electrification.