German automotive supplier, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, has opened a new production facility for automatic car transmissions in South Carolina, USA. The 90,000 square meter facility, with an investment of nearly ?450million, is the largest single investment in the company?s history. The company plans to produce about 1.2 million 8 and 9-speed automatic passenger car transmissions at the facility. The new transmission is specially designed for passenger cars with front-transverse engines. Compared to today?s standard 6-speed automatic transmission, it cuts fuel consumption by up to 16 percent. New ZF U.S. employees have been trained in transmission assembly production by experienced, specialized ZF workers from Saarbr?cken in Germany through a ?Buddy Program?. South Carolina is also home to many automobile manufacturers and automotive suppliers, and additionally Piedmont Technical College recently established a new facility near ZF to aid in the training of a skilled workforce ? factors which influenced ZF?s decision to set up the plant there.