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GM announces $494M investment for next-gen Ecotec engine family


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GM announces $494M investment for next-gen Ecotec engine family

02/18/2010, 11:25 AMBY DREW JOHNSON

General Motors’ current range of Ecotec four-cylinder engines are already some of the most advanced and fuel-efficient on the road, but the Detroit automaker announced on Thursday it is readying three U.S. plants for the production of the next-generation Ecotec family.

GM will invest more than $494 million in three U.S. plants as it readies for production of the next-generation Ecotec engine, creating nearly 550 new jobs. The money will be used for facility upgrades, new machinery and new tooling.

The improvements will be made at GM’s Tonawanda, Defiance and Bay City factories. Towanda will receive the bulk of the investment, using $425 million to increase annual capacity of the next-generation Ecotec engine to 370,000 units. The investment will create about 470 jobs.

GM’s Defiance plant will receive $59 million of the investment, with the funds being used to increase annual engine block production to 188,000 units. The investment will add 80 jobs to the area. Another $10.5 million will be allocated to GM’s Ecotec connecting rod plant in Bay City, generating 15 new jobs.

“GM is transforming its product portfolio to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, and the next generation Ecotec engine is an integral part of that transformation,” said Denise Johnson, vice president – labor relations. “The investment in state-of-the-art four-cylinder engines is another example of GM’s commitment to replace larger-displacement engines with more compact, advanced four-cylinder engines that optimize fuel savings and performance.”

GM failed to give any specs on the next-generation engine family or when we might see them in a production vehicle.



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GM Says Ecotec Investment to Total $494 Million

By Ward’s Staff

WardsAuto.com, Feb 18, 2010 11:31 AM

General Motors Co. confirms today plans to build a pair of next-generation 4-cyl. Ecotec engines at its Tonawanda, NY, powertrain plant, a new-product commitment totaling $494 million across three facilities and adding 56 jobs.

To prepare for the new engines, GM will invest $425 million at Tonawanda for a capacity of 370,000 engines and create 470 jobs.

The auto maker recently terminated production at Tonawanda of a big-block V-8, indefinitely laying off some 150 people, and a V-6 engine that comprised a majority of its output. The Buffalo-area plant employs some 650 people, with a reported 375 on indefinite layoff. During the late-1980s and early 1990s, 4,000 people worked at the 72-year-old facility.

New hires reportedly will begin at the lower end of GM’s new 2-tier pay scale.

GM also puts $59 million into its Defiance, OH, powertrain plant to support precision sand cast blocks for the engines at a capacity of 188,000 annually. Defiance will hire 80 people, the auto maker says.

GM’s Bay City powertrain plant will receive a $10.5 million investment to produce connecting rods for the engines and will add 15 jobs.

GM provides few details about the new engines, citing competitive reasons, but says the motors will build upon its current-generation Ecotec architecture featuring gasoline direct-injection, variable-valve timing and turbocharging technologies.

Current-generation 2.4L 4-cyl. Ecotec GDI engine a Ward’s 10 Best Engines winner.

The spokeswoman for the auto maker also declines providing a timetable for production of the new engines.

A 2.4L version of the engine, which currently powers the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain Cross/utility vehicles, Buick LaCrosse premium sedan and upcoming Buick Regal sports sedan, earned a Ward’s 10 Best Engines nod this year.

In the Equinox and Terrain, the 2.4L achieves an Environmental Protection Agency-rated and segment-leading 32 mpg (7.4 L/100 km) on the highway. GM says the next-generation Ecotec engines will see even greater fuel efficiency and performance with additional technology.

The 2.4L engines, as well as a 3.0L version, launched with the ’10 model year, joining existing 2.0L and 2.2L displacement mills.



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I was never one to ever consider owning a 4 cylinder. The Ecotec changed all that. So far I am a year and a half of ownership and just love the MPG and the power. The only thing I miss is the WOT sound of a V8.

GM has a really great engine here and to see them upgrade it is a very good thing for all the future products. I hope they keep working on the power end as the old Ecotec can do well over 300 HP for a daily driver with a torque curve as flat as a table top of over 300 ft-lb.

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