General Motors Corp. is investing a total of $96 million at two of its GM Powertrain division’s metalcasting operation, to install new tooling and equipment for its current and future engine packages. The foundries at Bedford, Ind., and Defiance, Ohio, are among 17 GM plants to share in a $2-billion capital improvement program that the automaker first announced in May and has been explaining in a series of presentations over recent weeks.
At the Bedford, Ind., aluminum foundry, GM will invest $49 million for new tooling and equipment to produce components for the eight-speed transmission the automaker is introducing, as well as for a small engine product to be announced sometime in the future. Specific details of the new equipment and the timing of the projects were not announced.
GM previously indicated plans to introduce an 8-speed transmission, though its design details and the vehicles that will host it remain unclear. Most of GM’s existing engines feature a six-speed transmission, but several of its competitors are featuring more complex gearing technologies.
"The all-new 8-speed transmission will improve fuel economy in a number of future vehicles," stated GM manufacturing manager Arvin Jones, “and, the new gasoline engine, which will be offered in displacements from 1.0 liters to 1.5 liters, is key to fuel economy leadership in the small four-cylinder engine segment."
At the iron and aluminum foundry in Defiance, Ohio, a $47-million capital investment is planned to install new tooling and equipment that will increase capacity for component parts for the Ecotec 1.4-liter engine, as well as for “the next generation of small block car and truck engines.” Again, specific details of the machinery or processes to be installed were not released.
“This investment reflects the growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Volt, and the all-new Sonic,” according to a statement by GM Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones. “The products produced here will help our customers deal with rising fuel prices.”
Both plants have been identified for considerable levels of new investment since 2010. GM included the Bedford plant in its $890-million plan to produce its small-block truck and car engines, indicating it would be expanding semi-permanent mold casting capability there.
GM’s Defiance it has been the object of an estimated $187 million total investment over the past year or so, to add and expand capacity for casting, finishing, and premachining, including a new precision sand molding line for the Ecotec engine and small-block and truck engines.