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GM Consolidates Engines, Electrifies Spark

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On: Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 10:35AM | By: Chris Salamone

GM Consolidates Engines, Electrifies Spark

Just moments ago, GM announced the company’s plan to consolidate their global family of small-displacement gasoline engines over the next few years in pursuit of reducing manufacturing complexity, improving fuel economy, while increasing quality and performance. Three engine families will soon become a single uber group, encompassing more than 2 million engines per year by 2020.

And that’s not all. During a Chevrolet press conference held via live webcast, the company also mentioned plans to bring an electric Spark to market and introduced a facelift for the newly minted American super sub-compact. No word yet on vehicle range or cost.

“The Spark EV offers customers living in urban areas who have predictable driving patters or short commutes an all-electric option,” stated Jim Federico, global vehicle chief engineer for electric cars at Chevy. Based on the above statement, we can expect this latest EV to fit right into the current EV range competition – just enough juice to buzz around town.

The new global small internal combustion engine family will be comprised of three or four-cylinder engines, ranging in displacements from 1.0L to 1.5L. GM plans to continue using advanced technologies aimed at lightweight construction and efficiency – making use of direct injection, turbocharging, and alternative fuel options. Noting that vibration and harshness seem to be a common characteristic of smaller engines, GM also plans to address and reduce engine noise with their small engines overhaul.

“Our customers around the world agree we need to reduce our dependence on petroleum and reduce vehicle carbon emissions,” said Jim Federico, vehicle line exec for GM global small cars and electric vehicles. “We are working aggressively on vehicle electrification and other technologies, but the most immediate progress will come from continually improving the internal combustion engine.”

Somewhat like Ikea, these newest engines will be designed in a modular-type manner with interchangeable parts throughout the globe – creating a fertile breeding ground for business streamlining and consumer aftermarket modification. Regardless of how you feel about small engines, it is undeniable that GM is striving for market leadership in a number of sectors. With the introduction of several new vehicles, and some new technologies mixed in, we can expect big things from the General in the next decade. Are these the first steps in an epic return for American motoring? Smart business moves and shrewd campaigning, we might be on to something.

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