Allison Transmission is an American manufacturer of commercial duty automatic transmissions and hybrid propulsion systems. Allison products are specified by over 250 of the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers and are used in many market sectors including bus, refuse, fire, construction, distribution, military and specialty applications. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Allison Transmission has regional offices all over the world and manufacturing facilities in Indianapolis, Indiana and Szentgotthard, Hungary.
Allison began in 1909 when James A. Allison, along with three business partners, helped found and build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In 1911, Allison’s new track held the first Indianapolis 500 mile race. In addition to funding several race teams, Jim Allison established his own racing team in 1915 and quickly gained a reputation for his work on race cars and automotive technology in general.
When World War I began, Allison suspended racing and his company began machining parts, tools and masters for the Liberty airplane engine — the main power plant used in the US war effort. After the war, Allison entered a car in the 1919 Indy 500 and won. It was the last race Allison’s team ever entered. Instead, he turned his company’s attention to aviation engineering. The company’s expertise in aviation was the major factor in General Motors decision to buy the company following Jim Allison’s death in 1928.
Shortly after the sale to General Motors in 1929, Allison engineers began work on a 12-cylinder engine to replace the aging Liberty engines. The result was the V1710 12-cylinder aircraft engine and it made the company, now known as the Allison Engine Company, a major force in aviation.
Toward the end of World War II, General Motors formed Allison Transmission to put the engineers’ expertise to work in a new field — power transmissions for tracked military vehicles. The new division developed a transmission combining range change, steering and braking.
After WWII, Allison Transmission turned its attention to civilian transportation. Allison designed, developed and manufactured the first-ever automatic transmissions for heavy-duty vehicles like delivery trucks, city buses and even locomotives.
1949—Allison begins production of CD-850 tank transmission, division’s most historically significant transmission
December 1949—First rail car transmission is produced; installed in Budd Rail Car
October 1960—First Allison XT-1410-2 transmission is produced
June 1961—Allison announces MT Series transmissions
July 1962—Allison TT-2000 Hydro Powershift transmission is introduced
March 1965—Introduction of dual path DP-8000, largest single-package Allison Powershift transmission to date
July 1966—Allison announces new DP-8960 for large off-highway trucks
May 1983—GM sells Allison Gas Turbine Division; Allison becomes part of newly formed GM Power Products and Defense Operations Group
June 1986—First X200 military transmission is released
December 1987—Detroit Diesel Allison becomes Allison Transmission, Division of General Motors
February 1991—Allison introduces electronically controlled World Transmissions
November 1995—Allison adopts lean manufacturing principles and begins implementing Allison Production System (APS), a cellular manufacturing system; some 10,000 machines and support equipment are re-arranged through all plants