GM Announces Investment in New Tiny Ecotec Engines, New V-6, and 8-Speed Automatic Transmission
General Motors, for all of the wonderment coming from it, hasn’t had a brand new engine for quite some time. The 3.6-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 in the upcoming 2014 Cadillac CTS is based on the same engine used in everything from the Chevrolet Impala, to the Camaro, and even the company’s full-size crossovers. Its four-cylinder engines are all fairly ubiquitous, too.
But GM says it’s developing a new line of Ecotec engines, a new V-6, and an eight-speed automatic transmission to go along with it, totaling a $332 million investment.
General Motors hasn’t announced power outputs or what products they will go into, but it’s not hard to figure out what could use them.
The Ecotec engines will be three- and four-cylinders and range from 1.0- to 1.5-liters in displacement. Those will likely be destined for the Chevrolet Spark, Sonic, and Cruze. In addition, the original design for the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid called for a small three-cylinder engine instead of the 1.4-liter four-cylinder that it currently uses. It might just happen this time around, if not also end up in a refresh of the Cadillac ELR in a few years. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see any number of the engines adopting turbochargers to compete against Ford’s popular EcoBoost engine line.
In addition, there will be a new V-6 engine that we assume would eventually replace the “High Feature” 3.6-liter V-6 in some applications, if not complement it in others. We have it on good authority that the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will have a V-6 available, likely a version of the 3.6-liter engine or this new engine instead of the ancient (but heavily updated) 4.3-liter V-6 used in the full-size Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
GM will also add eight-speed automatic transmissions to its Bedford Castings transmission plant in Indiana to complement its line of six-speed units. They’re likely destined for the 2014 Cadillac CTS and GM pickup trucks, albeit after some time to switch over from their older-generation transmissions they will be using at launch.
The $332 million investment will be benefiting plants in Toledo, Ohio, close to where the Chevrolet Cruze is currently made; Bedford, Indiana; Flint, Michigan; and Bay City, Michigan. GM says in total it will have $1.2 billion invested in its facilities in upgrades for 2013. We’re looking forward to seeing how these engines and transmissions stack up when they reach production; GM’s current units are competitive, but few are class-leading.
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By Jacob Brown