Allison Transmission is a manufacturer of automatic transmissions for medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicle applications. Currently operated as a subsidiary of General Motors (Powertrain Division), the company's headquarters are located in Indianapolis, Indiana. On June 28, 2007, GM announced that it was selling its Allison unit to private equity firms The Carlyle Group and Onex Corporation, in a deal valued at $5.6 billion.
The original Indianapolis plant dates to the September 14, 1915 founding of the Indianapolis Speedway Team Company by James A. Allison. Changing its name in 1918 to the Allison Experimental Company, the company contributed to the United States' buildup to fight World War I. In 1909, James Allison started the Indianapolis 500 race to prove the automobile components they manufactured. Now known as the Allison Engineering Company, Allison produced bearings for the Liberty engine.
In addition to its Indianapolis plant, Allison operates manufacturing facilities in Baltimore (US), Szentgotthard (Hungary), and Santo Amaro (Brazil). General Motors purchased the company in 1929 on the death of the founder, becoming the Allison Division in 1934. The company's V1710 12-cylinder aircraft engine made the Allison Engine Company a major force in aviation. In the 1960s, the company produced the M551 and M109 for the military. In the 1940s, Allison introduced the CD-850 tank transmission, transforming the company again. The company's MT-25 was its first major success in on-road transmissions, and the company continues to produce high-torque automatic transmissions today. Allison six-speed automatic transmissions can commonly be found fitted to buses from Motor Coach Industries.
Allison Transmission developed the hybrid electric technology that General Motors will use in the forthcoming hybrid-drive vehicles, and is incorporated in hybrid propulsion systems for buses primarily assembled by New Flyer Industries and Gillig Corporation.
Allison Transmisson will be sold to some equity firms for US $5.6 billion. General Motors announced earlier this morning that it has agreed to sell Allison Transmission to two private equity firms. The Carlyle Group and Onex Corp. will purchase both the commercial and military ends of Allison, all for the bargain price of $5.6 billion.
The plan is to sell of the firm's seven manufacturing centers throughout Indianapolis, along with the company's sale offices and a worldwide distribution complex. However, GM plans to retain its Baltimore plant to produce both regular and hybrid two-mode transmissions for it's trucks and SUVs.
Naturally, the regulators and the unions will want to have their say first, so don't expect anything solid until later in the third quarter of 2007.