China - Tier 1 supplier ZF has teamed up with truck and bus manufacturer Foton to open a transmission production plant for commercial vehicles in Jiaxing, south of Shanghai. The facility will be used to make TraXon, ZF’s compact modular transmission system, which will then be fitted to Foton vehicles and sold in the Chinese market.

“This joint venture sees the joined hands of two industry leaders,” commented Heyi Xu, CEO of Foton’s parent company BAIC Group. “It speaks for the product innovation and business capabilities of BAIC, and ZF global leadership in transmission products and manufacturing. Both parties will leverage on their respective technology and strengths, form a modular and standard production platform, in order to produce cutting-edge, efficient and intelligent transmission products for the world. We will provide Chinese customers of commercial vehicles the desired world-class products, leading the development of the sector.”

The TraXon system will also be paired with ZF’s Intarder transmission brake - a system which allows for wear-free braking without fading. This relieves the service brakes by up to 90%, and in doing so, reduces maintenance costs and brake dust emissions. The Intarder will also soon enter production at the new plant in Jiaxing.

The opening of the plant comes after ZF and Foton established a joint venture, called ZF Foton Heavy Commercial Vehicle (HCV) Automation Transmissions, at the end of 2016. The companies also operate another joint venture called Foton ZF Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) Automated Transmissions.

Several companies have been constructing new manufacturing facilities in China. This is due to the fact that the government recently passed a bill, lifting a longstanding law that meant foreign companies could only make goods in the country if they did so under a joint venture that was mainly owned by a local company. The likes of Tesla, Nissan and Toyota have all announced plans to expand existing plants or build new ones in the near future.