• Feb 24, 2009
General Motors has been vascillating about when and where it would build engines for its upcoming Chevrolet Volt and Cruze models, and today that saga has a new twist. Last September, GM proclaimed that it would invest $370 million in a new Flint, Michigan plant to build 1.4-liter four-cylinder engines after the city announced an extensive suite of tax breaks said to be worth $56 million. Then, in mid-December, word came that GM was delaying building the plant, although it pledged to bring the Volt to market on-time, instead sourcing initial engines from overseas. Then came word late last month that GM had cancelled the plant contracts, leaving the company's powertrain plans in limbo. Now, GM is saying that it will indeed build the engines in Flint, it's just going to do so using existing facilities.

According to a new press release, GM is citing "current capital expenditure constraints and available floor space in existing facilities" as the reason for not pursuing a new facility. All is not lost, however, as GM still plans to invest around $250M to update the company's Flint South plant. Facility revitalization work will commence this spring, with production of the new engines slated to begin in December 2010. More details in the press release after the jump.

[Source: General Motors]

PRESS RELEASE:

GM Confirms Engine for Chevy Volt and Cruze Will Be Built in Existing Flint, Mich. Plant

General Motors has confirmed today that it will still invest approximately $250 million to bring the 1.4-liter 4-cylinder Family 0 engine production to Flint, Mich. The engine capacity for the Chevy Volt and Cruze will be allocated to existing and available floor space in the company's Flint South engine plant located on Bristol Road.

Preparations to the Flint South plant for installation of new machinery and equipment will begin this Spring. Production of the 1.4-liter engines is targeted to begin in December 2010.

Production of Family 0 engines at Flint South will be GM's most flexible and competitive engine manufacturing lines in the world, with approximately 150 highly flexible stations that will allow production of multiple 4-cylinder engine families without retooling.

This means that GM will not invest in new floor space at this time due to current capital expenditure constraints and available floor space in existing facilities.

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  • 35 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is "new" because the original story on this was the cancelation of the planned new construction. This is better because it is more efficient to re-purpose an existing building and saving at least $150 million. It's great that it's still going to be made in Michigan. This plant will also supply motors to the Euro versions of the Volt.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This was a new item a few weeks ago.
      • 5 Years Ago

      The name Cruze does not sound so nice. Maybe GM should rename it after some past Chevy like Chevette or Nova or something like that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Assuming an intake tube goes into that throttle body, it looks like that engine on that stand has an immpossibly hard to get to oil filter housing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM is reacting to the reality of what the (constantly evolving) government stimulus packages are pointing towards. First, it was make new plants to get stimulus money for new vehicles that replace old vehicles that get x% fewer mpg than the new ones.

      Then, the reality hit the government that maybe it makes more sense to utilize existing facilities.

      Oh, and by the way - the Cruze and Volt have absolutely nothing in common with the Cobalt or Caviliar - where have you people been?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Perhaps they were unable to obtaining funding from GMAC.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They didn't have the 20% down now required by the then crooked mortgage brokers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM dump this crap design NOW. It looks cheap, like the current sonata.

      What you should have done was put a proper interior in the cobalt and refreshed it a bit. The SS is fantastic and all it needs is a better interior, this cruze on the other hand is hideous. Millions and millions could have been saved!!!

      Not to mention what is GM going to do when honda comes out with its next civic? This thing can't even compete with the current one! Its awful!!! It actually makes me ill when I look at it.

      If anyone still has GM stock, sell it. Put a fork in that bird, its done. What is even more remarkable is just 6 months ago Ford looked like they were sure to go.

      GM is just too big, is cutting the wrong programs, and has lousy vehicles in the pipeline that nobody will want.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, it might produce Cruze engines, but Volt engines...? The Cruze is a reworked Cobalt/Cavalier (yawn), and the Volt is vaporware in search of a subsidy. Good luck selling either one.

      This was a political move, "build American" and all that. At least the US tax dollars will stay domestic, even if they are wasted.
        • 5 Years Ago
        gslippy:
        This will not be a huge performer, that's true.

        But 72HP average output is plenty for a car like this. You have to remember, you rarely, if ever run your car at peak power output. Even if you have the pedal dropped all the way to the floor, the power output is STILL below half peak if the revs are below half peak (roughly speaking).

        Except on a track, no car is averaging more than 72HP power output for more than perhaps 30 seconds at a time. And given that there are batteries between the gas motor and the electric ones, that means that the car can produce more than 72HP peak power when you need it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        When I say 'reworked', I really mean 'not much different'. I don't mean they are mechanically the same.

        My questions on the Cruze: It looks similar to the Cobalt, which looks similar the the Cavalier. Chevy can't get away from the "C" naming convention, so customers will be unimpressed by the new name. Will it do anything far better than the Cobalt, or for that matter, its competitors, to induce buyers to pay for it?

        Secondly, re: the Volt - The Volt is a $40,000 economy car. This does not compute. After mile 40, it runs on a something like an 80-HP engine, with a generator in between, which may have 90% efficiency at best. This means you'll be driving a 72-HP car with very sluggish performance. Once the word gets out, will consumers really want to pay $40k for that?
        • 5 Years Ago
        what a great educated comment...

        cavalier is a j-body (1980's - 2005)
        cobalt is a delta body (2003-2009)
        and the cruze is the new delta II body (future production)
        the three have about as much in common as the sentra vs corolla vs civic

        thanks for coming out though....
        • 5 Years Ago
        You really don't think there will be any difference between the Delta II Global Compact Car Platform being designed in Russelheim Germany which will underpin the Cruze/Volt versus the GM J body platform which underpinned cars like the Cavalier since 1981?

        Volt is Vaporware? Wow that is some potentent Prius flavored koolaid you're smoking!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I pointed this out when the first announcement came out....doesn't exactly make sense for GM to both be paying to get rid of workers in factories it doesn't need and also to be building new factories and having to hire new skilled workers.

      Glad to see they're saving money in whatever ways possible.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah it's just entertaining how quick all of our resident experts were a month or so ago, point out GM wouldn't be scrapping the plant when the writing on the wall was clear. It's nice to have GM finally confirm our suspicions, and like you've mentioned, the new plant didn't make much sense given their current bail out dependency.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why the hell wasnt a factory upgrade their first choice? This is why they've been hemorrhaging money. They just throw money into ensuring gross overcapacity instead of maximizing what they already own. I just hope this comes to market ahead of schedule, those Flint workers need a break.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're a dumbass. The existing plant has the capacity to build it's current engines and the volt/cruze engine.... now. Do you think that maybe a HUGE drop in the demand for vehicles in the last few months maybe... just maybe... freed up some capacity in an existing plant? some capacity that before wouldn't have been available?

        OH that's right, hind sight is 20/20, especially when you're an armchair QB
      • 5 Years Ago
      Flint Engine (South) is currently building the HFV6 and the I5 engines, the I6 was eliminated when Moraine went down last year. The I5 product will probably be moved from FES in the near future (it was moved to FES from Tonawanda in 2007). The Fam0 will replace the I5/6 floorspace of the plant.

      The stickler for GM was that one union local was promised the Fam0 business in the 2007 contract while a different union local currently occupies the Flint Engine South site. The are now going to have one management team and two different locals manufacturing the two different products of the HFV6 and the Fam0 in the same building.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Except for the part about putting more production in UAW-dominated Flint, this sounds like a smart plan.
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