Chrysler Details ATF Licensing Program


DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler Group has launched the rebrand licensing program for its trademarked ATF+4 automatic transmission fluids. Four oil companies are now licensed to blend ATF+4; three of them are ready to sell product to licensed rebranders.

Rebecca Cox of the Center for Quality Assurance, a division of the Institute of Materials, announced the rebrand program Monday at the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. The Center, based in Midland, Mich., is administrator of the Chrysler ATF+4 licensing program.

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First introduced six years ago, fluids meeting the ATF+4 specifications provide significantly improved wear protection, thermal stability and low-temperature fluidity while retaining the frictional properties required for Chrysler Group transmissions and torque converters, said Cox. The fluid is approved for use in older transmissions and will be used in all future Chrysler vehicles, replacing ATF+3.

Under the new licensing program that Chrysler unveiled last month, two types of license to use the ATF+4 trademark are issued: rebrander and blender. A rebrander, Cox said, is a company that purchases approved ATF+4 from a licensed blender and then packages and sells the product under its own trade name and license number.

Prospective rebranders apply to the Center, submitting affidavits from a licensed blender, copies of intended product labels and a $5,000 annual license fee. Before a rebrand license is approved, the Center will conduct an inspection of each packaging site.The rebrander also submits a sample from the first production batch at each site within 60 days, in order to keep the license. There is no additional cost to the rebrander for testing these samples.

Blender Licenses
A blender is a company that manufactures an approved formulation of ATF+4 and then sells the product to licensed rebranders or to the marketplace. “Each formulation must have a unique license number,” Cox said.

Four companies are currently approved ATF+4 blenders: Petro-Canada, Shell, Valvoline and ExxonMobil. Three — Petro-Canada, Shell and Valvoline — are ready to provide product to rebranders now, said Cox.

The requirements and costs of blender licensing are significantly greater than for rebranders.

The applicant submits a request for qualification of its formulation to the Center. The ATF+4 specs require a specific additive system supplied by Lubrizol, and extra high viscosity index base oils. SK Corp., Petro-Canada and Motiva currently have base stocks approved for the fluids.

Chrysler’s ATF Committee reviews each blender application and determines the extent of testing necessary, Cox explained. Tests that are currently required include physical and chemical, wear, friction and elastomer testing, at a total cost to the applicant of nearly $90,000.

If the applicant’s qualification sample is approved, theblender then submits a licensing agreement, copies of intended product labels and a $5,000 annual license fee. The Center then inspects the blender’s manufacturing and packaging site(s) before the license is finally approved, said Cox.

Blenders submit monthly activity reports to the Center, and pay monthly royalties of one dollar per gallon of product sold or otherwise distributed.

In the first year of licensing, blenders also submit a quarterly production sample to the Center for testing, another cost borne by the blender. In addition, Cox noted, the Center will perform ongoing market sampling and testing.

Information and applications are available from the Center for Quality Assurance at 989-496-2399 or

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