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GM Launching New Global Small Car Engine Family

Underscores maker’s shift to small cars and crossovers.

by on Oct.12, 2011

The new GM Ecotec engines will cover models ranging from microcars to midsize.

General Motors is developing an all-new family of high-tech global engine family that it hopes will reduce costs while delivering better mileage and performance.

The new engine line will power a wide array of products, from the smallest GM produces all the way up to some of its midsize models, officials announced during a global news event celebrating the upcoming 100th anniversary of the maker’s dominant brand, Chevrolet.  During the well-attended gathering, the automaker unveiled one of the first vehicles that will make use of the new engine line, the next-generation Chevy Spark.

The new engine family – which will replace three separate powertrain lines currently in use – will cover displacements ranging from 1.0 to 1.5-liter and both 3- and 4-cylinder configurations.  The new Spark, which goes on sale in the U.S. next year, will feature a 1.2-liter 4-cylinder version of the global Ecotec family.

Power Up!

Significantly, GM will incorporate a wide range of the latest technologies, including Direct Injection and turbocharging.  Such features are costly but Jim Federico, who oversees small car operations at GM, stressed that by migrating to a single family that shares many key components there will be major cost savings due to the improved economies of scale.

The new engines will be able to run on a broad range of fuels, from gasoline to ethanol, the executive noted, adding “anything but diesel.”

Meanwhile, the new Ecotec range will show up in vehicles as small as the A- segment all the way up to compact C-class vehicles, “and even some low-end D-segment” models, said Federico.

Development of the new line involves input from various GM engineering centers around the world, but a key partner in the project is SAIC, the Shanghai-based automaker with which GM is involved in nearly a dozen Chinese joint ventures.  Among those is the PATEC engineering complex in Shanghai where much of the work on the Ecotec line has been underway.

With so many different variants in the pipeline, said Federico, the rollout of the new engine family will continue throughout the coming decade.

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2 Responses to “GM Launching New Global Small Car Engine Family”

  1. Dukecati says:

    Hopefully these will be better than the loud and unrefined engine in the Cruze. It has all the charm of a ride-em mower.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      Agreed, Randy. I have long wondered why Detroit’s makers have failed to deliver sound and feel refinements common among foreign brands. The EcoBoost is a sign that might be changing. Let’s see if GM now goes the next step.
      Paul A. Eisenstein