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GM May Build New 1.4L DI Turbo in New Flint Plant; Cruze and Possible Volt Application

Kalamazoo Gazette. GM is planning a new engine plant near its Flint (Michigan) Engine South Plant, and would like to build the recently unveiled 1.4-liter direct-injection turbocharged gasoline engine (earlier post) there, according to GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner.

In a written response to 10 questions from the Gazette News Service, Wagoner said that the new turbo will be the mainstream engine for the next-generation Chevy compact car  (the Cruze) scheduled to go into production in mid-2010 at the Lordstown, Ohio, plant.

When teamed with a manual transmission, Wagoner said, the engine will offer customers a 9 mile-per-gallon increase in fuel economy over Chevy’s current entry in this segment.

Wagoner also said the GM will apply the engine first in the Cruze, but that it was looking at other potential applications, “including an application as the range-extender engine in the Chevy Volt.

Injection nozzles in the new 1.4L engine are positioned centrally in the combustion chamber for the direct injection (up to 200 bar) to make sure that a homogeneous mixture is produced and also ensure that the design will not become outdated, as it will also be suitable for other future developments such as HCCI.

The two camshafts can be adjusted independently of one another. At medium load, the intake valves are closed late. At low engine speeds and high loads, on the other hand, the engine works with a higher valve overlap to improve the torque curve. Key features include a turbocharger integrated into the exhaust manifold, full variable valve timing, thermal management, flow-controlled oil pump, and a reinforced crankshaft and connecting rod.



Sounds very promising,
Cruze "". They claim this engine will give them a 40-45 mpg Cobalt sized small car by 2010. But with their labor overhead can it be priced right? Go GM.


Not exactly the kind of game-changing, disruptive technology & product breakthrough the company needs to stop hemorraging jobs & survive......


1.4l should be good for about 120hp. That would be appealing in a vehicle like the Saturn Aura/Astra with a six speed AT and a mild hybrid system.


Couple this engine with a hydraulic IVT and modest regen capability and you've got a winner in almost any vehicle.


There appears to be a lot of momentum for this to be the Volt range extender. The three cyl 1.0L tests seem to be a little rough and GM may believe they need the extra heft for Volt's genset. Most probably though, the scale of this engine will make it a strong contender in both arenas.


There's a rumour that both, the Cruze and the new engine will be built in Korea and China.

This engine may make the Volt slightly more affordable.

By 2010, similar engines (or better) are going to be common place. Toyota's and Honda's new hybrids and many EU vehicles may have better units.

The current Honda Civic and many EU cars already have that level of mpg.

"Current Honda Civic and... already have that level of mpg."

Not even close according to

Current Cobalt 26 mixed with auto and 27 mixed with manual.
Current Civic 29 mixed (either tranny).

Cruze (estimated 9mpg improvement) expected to be 35 to 36 mixed. If they deliver, it will probably only be equal to everyone else on the road in 2010 (as far as small cars are concerned) but it is an improvement over the current line of small cars available in the US.



Please see ( for 19 existing cars with better than 47 mpg.

Nice try...UK gallons are larger than US. Will these 19 cars be in the same market as the Cruze (cobalt sized)? How many of these 19 cars use gasoline?

stas peterson

More infrastructure for a reduced gasoline consumption profile.

This won't impress any of the Eco-wacks, but its how progress marches forward.

Since the Eco-crazed have no conception of how the real world works or manufactures its goods. That would require getting your hands dirty; and indulging in evil bidness, for which they are both too ignorant and uneducated to contribute.

They think any industry can turn on a dime, and meet their desires of today, instantly. The World doesn't work that way.

It takes time and investment to build the tools, to build the factories, to make the parts, that can then be designed, that then can be used in autos, that then come off the assembly lines.

Its easy to see that the true Eco have no conception. They bemoan the fact that sales for Toyota's Prius has fallen off. So has sales for Ford's hybrid twins. They accept all kinds of conspiracy nonsense, about 100 mpg carburetors etc. Toyota nd Ford are withholding product from sales rooms, and other similar paranoid fancies.

GM was the world's largest corporation. Don't you think they would be able to outbid and buy an easy solution which would drive Toyota and all its other competitors into irrelevancy?

No. Don't let reality intrude.

They never realize that the parts factories, to make the parts, that go into making a hybrid, are working at capacity, and falling behind. The real measure of future intentions are announcements just like this. You must learn to crawl before walking before running.

Similarly, you must build the component factories, before you can build the cars using them. Then you must build some more parts factories, too.



You may have been misinformed on Prius' worldwide sales. They are still going up.

Here is a summary of the worldwide Prius monthly sales, rounded up to the nearest thousand: 2004 (10 000), 2005 (14 000), 2006 (16 000), 2007 (21 000), 2008 (27 000 based on first 6 months).

Monthy Prius sales may even reach 30 000+ for the last 6 months of 2008.

Prius sales may be moving from USA to other countries and continents as USA's economy becomes relatively smaller but worldwide sales are increasing and would even increase more if Toyota could produce more. Third generation Prius should do even better.


By the time the Cruze is out, there will be 20+ world class cars doing as good or better. However, there's nothing wrong with more competition.



Any reason they couldn't have made it a 1.0L engine? Any reason they can't add the Valero STARS start/stop mild hybrid? Those would both improve fuel economy even more.


I agree with each of your sentiments, but it is still an improvement.

Maybe a few years into the model lineup the paradigm of upgrading to "performance" versions will also morph into a new paradigm of upgrading to "fuel efficient" versions instead of keeping those as bottom of the barrel models.


"There appears to be a lot of momentum for this to be the Volt range extender. The three cyl 1.0L tests seem to be a little rough and GM may believe they need the extra heft for Volt's genset."

Er.. the VOLT's engine is completely decoupled so "a little rough" should be perfectly acceptable.

I am glad the focus of GM has turned to gas sippers. The fact that they are now building this engine here and not in Europe, as an earlier release implied, is a welcome sign. Like another poster has said, a performance engine should equate with high mpg. So a sub 1.0 L should enter GM's portfolio despite the fact that the price delta between that and any other size of displacement is minimal unless a move to fewer cylinders is contemplated.

But "Cruze" why another car with a new nameplate ? The "all new design Cavalier" would be better. People understand that. They would automatically know the market segment this vehicle is in. The idea that continuing with a legacy name, which may not have had the best reputation in its day, would suggest to the consumer that GM going forwards is now prepared to make a stand where acceptance of inferior quality control is not a company option. The corporate creed being "this product has to be good - it's ALL we do".

About the VOLT, again. After all, it is the electrical transmission which is the future. The VOLT could use and IMO should use a two cylinder, this would get the generator the power it is going to need at a better price point. I have to keep harping back to that 900cc Fiat SGE engine, announced almost a year ago, which will be a disruptive technology when it arrives in western Europe next year even though it is destined for a dinosaur transmission. For a genset you look for basically a low torque engine and an engine similar to that lightweight Fiat two cylinder would fill the bill.

As a general rule all dinosaur transmissions, even those on racing bikes, prefer to see input shaft speeds below 6000 rpm and of course with lots of torque. Generators want precisely the opposite. In order to get away with the lightest , smallest frame size generator possible then you need to select the highest rpm device available. In automobile and aeronautical applications that's especially important. In other heavier forms of transport, not so much. Prius fans know that during full acceleration the generator, MG1, is spun at 10,000 rpm to generate 30Kw of the 50Kw needed by MG2.
Furthermore in this type of automobile application it doesn't hurt that machines need only carry a 30 second rating at full power. This useful restriction, preventing an excessive temperature rise, permits even more downsizing.

That aside, not much to say about this engine. Its double VVT feature is similar to what the competition is putting out today. This a torquey 4 cylinder designed to mate with a typical dinosaur transmission is all I see. But it is the beginning.

The Prius sales are constrained because they can't build any more. The required parts are just not available. Its the same as the reason that Ford can't build any more hybrid Escapes. I'm sure both would wish they could.

But there have been plenty of wingnuts here vowing Conspiracies that Toyota and Ford are in thrall to some shadowy Big Oil coterie. National government socialist hacks control 93% of oil revenues, worldwide. The shadowy coterie can control only 7% of Oil monies. While large, that is hardly a world dominating amount of money. The auto industry itself would make that private 7% oil money into a dwarf.

But never let any portion of reality intrude.


The 1.4 turbo is way overdue but better late than never. If the vehicle styling can compete with the civic or mini, GM will have a winner. Americans are tired of feeding their gas guzzlers. As long as engine reliability is good, GM should make a pile of money off the 1.4 turbo.

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