Over the next few years, General Motors will aggressively increase production on their smaller and more fuel efficient Ecotec engines, with plans to make 2.5 million of the powerplants in five different worldwide plants by 2017. Expect to see Ecotec powering small cars and crossovers near you, very soon.
The new strategy is an effort to streamline the production process, cutting down on costs on an international level. Plants in the United States, China, Hungary, Mexico and South Korea will manufacture the Ecotec engines, and will be aimed at reaching emerging customer bases – the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze will launch this year, specifically targeted at China. Could the idea help GM maximize profits and cancel out their struggles in Europe?
There will be eleven engines in the Ecotec lineup, ranging from 1.0L to 1.5L of displacement. All will sport either three or four cylinders, ranging in power from 75 to 165 horsepower and 70 lb.-ft to 184 lb.-ft of torque. Hybrid and alternative fuel versions of the Ecotec engines could feasibly be on the way, too.
GM also dropped the news that the Chinese market 2015 Cruze will feature an all-new double clutch gearbox.
Predictably, many of the Ecotec engines will feature turbocharging to increase power will maintaining impressive fuel economy. For instance, a 1.0L turbo three-cylinder in the Opel ADAM will have as much power and 20-percent better fuel economy than the 1.6L engine it replaces.
But perhaps just as important as the power and fuel economy figures are what the Ecotec engines mean for the final health of General Motors. Rolling out a new line of Ecotec engines will allow the auto giant to streamline operations around the world. Many of the engines are similar, or identical except for turbocharging and other minor variations.
After the success that other automakers like Ford have had with low-displacement turbocharging and three-cylinder engines, GM seems poised to enter a new era with a head of steam. We’ll take one with that double-clutch transmission, please.