By Deborah Austin Deere & Co., Moline, Ill., has formed a joint venture to manufacture transaxles with Osaka, Japan-based Yanmar Diesel Engine Co. and Yanmar subsidiary Kanzaki Kokyukoki Manufacturing Co., Amagasaki, Japan. A September 2001 groundbreaking is set for the new company, Transaxle Manufacturing of America Corp., in Rock Hill, S.C. Production is slated for early 2003. Initially the company will manufacture transaxles for John Deere Gator utility vehicles and compact utility tractors. Yanmar/Kanzaki now supplies transaxles to Deere from its overseas plants. Aside from strengthening the two firms' 30-year business relationship -- and providing production capacity for growth -- the joint venture "will be a key component in our order fulfillment process, which means faster delivery times to our dealers and ultimately to our customers," says Steve Johnson, president of the new company.