GM Investing $890 Million for Cleaner, Fuel-Efficient Engines

Foundries, engine plants targeted for new production and machining capabilities

General Motors is proceeding with an $890-million investment program for new engine-block casting and component manufacturing technologies at five plants. While creating or retaining 1,600 positions at those plants, GM says the goal of the investment is to produce cleaner, more fuel-efficient engines.

It’s the second major announcement this year concerning GM’s investment plans for its new engine products. In February, the automaker said it is undertaking a $494-million capital program to expand capacity to produce a new series of its Ecotec engines. That figure covers facility renovations, new machinery, equipment and special tooling at GM Powertrain plants in Tonawanda, NY, Defiance, OH, and Bay City, MI, plants.

The Ecotec series was introduced in 2007, and the current 2.0-, 2.2- and 2.4-liter displacements feature direct injection, variable valve timing and turbocharging.

The bulk of that investment, $425 million, is to take place at GM’s Tonawanda engine plant, where it will build 370,000 of the new engines annually.

The plants covered by the new announcement are the GM Powertrain foundries at Defiance, OH, and Bedford, IN, as well as engine manufacturing plants at Tonawanda, Bay City, and St. Catharines, Ont.

GM says its new family of aluminum engines will have "unprecedented fuel efficiency" through direct injection and a new, advanced combustion system design.

Also, the engine will be E85 ethanol capable, built to meet emissions standards expected throughout the decade.

At Defiance and Bedford, investments include expansion of semi-permanent mold and precision sand casting technologies that will result in "a high degree of dimensional accuracy and material strength properties needed to support the newer, more efficient engines."

Plant renovations and installation of new, flexible engine machining and assembly equipment, as well as special tooling designed for manufacturing efficiency and engine quality will be part of the investment.

Specific details about the new engine's capabilities as well as product applications will be announced at a later date, according to GM.

"GM is investing in our plants, restoring and creating jobs, and making progress toward our vision of designing, building, and selling the world's best vehicles," said president of GM North America, Mark Reuss. "These latest investments show our commitment to improving fuel economy for buyers of every GM car, truck, and crossover, and giving them the best possible driving and ownership experience."

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