(Detroit-AP) -- General Motors and Ford are joining forces in a first-of-its-kind partnership to build a new six-speed automatic transmission.

The automakers say they will invest 720 (m) million dollars into the project. The transmissions will be manufactured at G-M's plant in Warren, Michigan, and Ford's plants in Sharonville, Ohio, and suburban Detroit.

The companies say the partnership will protect eleven-hundred jobs, including 250 in Sharonville, near Cincinnati.

Ford and G-M have agreed to cooperate on designing, engineering and testing the new transmission which will be made separately at their respective plants. They companies also will work with suppliers to develop and buy components.

The front-wheel-drive transmission is expected to offer improved fuel economy over traditional four-speed transmissions.