For four years, Ford Motor Co. and ZF Friedrichshafen AG worked side by side in preparing Ford’s Batavia, OH, powertrain plant to produce a completely new type of transmission that would improve fuel economy by at least 4%. Dave Szczupak, Ford powertrain vice president. ZF purchased a majority 51% stake, while Ford retained the remaining 49% in the ZF Batavia LLC joint venture that would run the plant beginning in 1999. This week, as the plant finally begins ramping up ...

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