New generation of small engines to power 27 GM models by 2017

Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:34pm EDT
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By Bernie Woodall

PONTIAC, Michigan (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote) on Wednesday announced a new generation of efficient small engines that it says will power 27 models in 64 countries by the 2017 model year.

The automaker said it was attempting to streamline production with a modular architecture of the 1-to-1.5-liter, 3- to 4-cylinder engines that will allow them to be adapted to varying needs in different global markets.

Among the first models with the new engines, to begin production by summer, will be the Chevrolet Cruze designed specifically for the Chinese market and the Opel Adam in Europe.

GM is calling the new line of 11 engines "Ecotec" and will build them in five plants on three continents.

By 2017, the company will build 2.5 million of the Ecotec engines for use by five different brands, or about 25 percent of the vehicles the company will build.

"We did not calculate the savings but it's definitely substantial" in engineering and manufacturing, said Tom Sutter, global chief engineer of Ecotec engines.

Steve Kiefer, vice president for global powertrain engineering, said he believes GM's key global competitors will not match the 2.5 million in annual production for a single "family" of engines by 2017.

Sutter said the new engines replace three engine "families" at GM but would not disclose which ones.   Continued...

A worker walks behind a logo of General Motors after the announcement of the closing of the Opel assembly plant in Antwerp January 21, 2010. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir