• Feb 18th 2010 at 2:01PM
  • 40
Building cars is expensive, and many of the priciest bits of technology driving research and development costs are wrapped up in the powertrain. Therefore it's not particularly surprising to hear that General Motors has just announced a $494 million investment to build the next generation of Ecotec engines.

The biggest chunk by far – to the tune of $425 million, to be exact, bringing along with it 470 new jobs – will go towards GM's Tonawanda, N.Y., engine plant, which is where the aforementioned Ecotec engines will be manufactured. The rest of it will be divided up between GM's plants in Defiance, Ohio ($59 million) and Bay City, Michigan ($10.5 million).

GM hasn't yet announced what new forms the Ecotec will take. At present, the four-cylinder powerplant is available in 2.0-, 2.2- and 2.4-liter sizes and comes standard in a wide range of products from The General, including the new Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain in its 2.4-liter guise and fitted with direct injection and variable valve timing. Feel free to click on past the break for the complete press release.

[Source: General Motors]
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GM To Invest $494 Million In U.S. Manufacturing For Next-Generation Ecotec Engines

o Three plants involved in project: Tonawanda, NY; Defiance, OH and Bay City, MI
o Project results in nearly 550 jobs
o Next generation Ecotec engines will continue to provide the right combination of fuel efficiency and performance to meet customer expectations

DETROIT – General Motors will invest more than $494 million and create nearly 550 jobs in three U.S. plants to produce the next generation fuel efficient Ecotec engine. The project consists of the following:

* Tonawanda -- $425 million site investment will add capacity for the next generation Ecotec engine at 370,000 per year and bring about 470 jobs to that community
* Defiance – $59 million site investment will support precision sand cast block at a capacity of 188,000 annually and result in about 80 jobs to that community
* Bay City – $10.5 million site investment will bring new product to the plant (Ecotec connecting rod) and will create about 15 jobs for that plant.

The investment includes facility renovation, new machinery, equipment and special tooling to support this engine program at the three plants.

"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. We look forward to working with our union partners at these three plants to make this investment a success."

The investment in Tonawanda, supported by the investments at Defiance and Bay City, will go toward producing two next-generation Ecotec engines. The new engines will have additional capabilities to improve fuel efficiency and improve performance through advanced design and by adding technology.

The Ecotec engine family is known for its reliability, fuel efficiency and performance. GM Ecotec engines have been on the forefront of delivering leading edge technology including direct injection, variable valve timing and turbocharging. Direct fuel injection, a hallmark of many Ecotec engines since 2007, is just now becoming mainstream technology in the industry.

The current Ecotec 2.4L with direct injection and variable valve timing in the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain was recently recognized as one of Ward's Auto World magazine's 2010 "Ten Best Engines" for North America based on several factors, including power, fuel efficiency and new technology. The Ecotec is currently available in 2.0L, 2.2L and 2.4L displacements.

"This investment is important because it supports manufacturing in the United States," said Cal Rapson, vice president and director, UAW International Union. "All three plants have a strong reputation for building quality and focusing on the needs of our customers."

For competitive reasons, specifics about the engine capabilities as well as product applications will be shared at a later date.

About General Motors: General Motors, one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 204,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 140 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 34 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Italy. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Where exactly did they come up with $500 million to invest in a new engine line? Did their IPO come out already or something?
        • 5 Years Ago
        They got the money from differently combination of:

        1) US loan
        2) China's booming market (apparently people buy buick over there >__>)
        3) They also fire the dumb CEO that was running the place and tried to get a better one.

        ^____^ I'm glad I voted for him. Yay jobs!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        cash infusion from the US govt... oh and one little known fact... they sell a lot of cars
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am aware they sell a lot of cars... thanks. I'm also aware that Sony has shipped a lot of PS3's-- loosing money on every single unit...
        • 5 Years Ago
        alex, is that what they do?
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM definitely does sell a lot of cars, but going into bankruptcy doesn't mean they all-of-a-sudden figured out how to sell cars at a profit.

        If, as one previous poster suggested, they had shifted any of their design expenses to one of the now defunct/sold GM brands, they're going to be equally screwed when they have to bring it back in-house on paper.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Interesting if this is just a mock up of a wish list engine and not the actual design this $500m is slated for. Looks like the end of timing belts/chains.

      I'm still wondering why we need belt driven A/C - I was hoping that most MFGRs would see that adding start/stop technology with running a/c while stopped would make a big difference in city and overall mpg - plus reducing our reliance on oil and hybrid cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder whatever happened to HCCI.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh, it's still around and being developed aggressively. One of the biggest hurdles is expanding the homogeneous operation range without sounding like a noisy diesel. People are sometimes fickle; they want fuel economy increases, yet do not want it to be any different from a normal engine. That is a reasonable request, however, it takes work to satisfy that.

        The HCCI is alive and progressing well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        that one may never happen. it's hard to get the HCCI working.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I bet the new Ecotec engine will be an HCCI engine like you suggested. GM has made great strides on this engine. The link below is not up to date, so today, GM probably have solved all the problems associated with it.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Are they going back to non-cross-flow heads?

      I can imagine very short passages, for both intake and exhaust on one side of the head, like the old BlueFlame I6 engines, and lots of others....

      The Throttle body on the intake side of the turbo compressor, and the exhaust and pressurized side of the turbo very close to the head.

      With variable valve lift and timing, and direct injection... that could be quite the compact unit.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Was I bashing someone, or something, without knowing it?

        Why is a comment on non-cross-flow heads providing short turbo tracts getting down-graded?

        It used to be that a LOT of engines had intake and exhaust on the same side, as I mentioned.

        I have relatives with a 1955 Chevy Del Rey, and a 1974 MGB. BOTH have same-side heads...

        For turbocharging, it makes some sense... if the heads are designed well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        When in doubt, downrate, I guess.

        I just hope GM won't stymie buyer perception of its four-cylinders with lazy exhaust harmonics tuning again. The 2.2 and 2.4 Ecotecs were really pretty good engines, very smooth at idle, but they sounded like blowing your nose under moderate acceleration.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why do they have 2.0, 2.2 and 2.4 liter engines? Wouldn't it be a lot cheaper just to make a 2.0 turbo and just adjust power through the software engine control?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I guess they'll have to invest now that they've kicked their R&D arm (SAAB) to the curb. No more hiding the expense at their "loser" brand. SAAB turbo engines rock!

        • 5 Years Ago
        Spoken like a true idiot.
        • 5 Years Ago
        LOL. Trollhattan might have been good for some things, but R&D was not one of them.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You might be able to call Opel one of GM's research arms, but you are as hell aren't going to be able to substantiate your statement that somehow SAAB has been the driving force of engine development at GM.
      • 5 Years Ago

      Years ago, a bunch of car manufacturers had these plans to upgrade car electrical systems to handle I think 48 volts or something higher.

      AC systems would have been all electric........car engines would not have any pulleys causing power loss, etc.

      Manufacturers couldn't come to an agreement and all their plans were just cancelled.

      Anyone else remember these plans ?

      It was a while back........maybe 10 years ago.

        • 5 Years Ago
        I remember those plans. I heard there was concern about the voltage being lethal, so it was canned. That really kind of sucked.
      • 5 Years Ago
      EcoTec: The Un-Special Distant Twice-Removed Copycat Convict Cousin of EcoBoost.

      Nuff' said.

        • 5 Years Ago
        But ecotec was out long before ecoboost....
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ecotec is far far older though, and only a 4cyl. Ecoboost is a family, and a newer one at that. So its more like Grandpa weezer and the upstart yuppy family that moved in next door and are driving his taxes up.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Derek: You do know that the EcoTec mills pre-dates the EcoBoost nee Twin-Force engines by about 3 or 4 years right?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ecotec predates EcoBoost.


      • 5 Years Ago
      OR they could just take their currently excellent 2.0L ectec and put it in a decent car. It is a great engine that has been in some unfortunate automobiles so far.
        • 5 Years Ago
        2011 Buick Regal.

        And don't rule it out for compact Buick and new Cadillac ATS.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would love to hear more about the details of this next-gen engine, but until then, it's great to know that not only is GM investing in it's future, but also in the future of this country by updating their NY, OH, MI plants and adding jobs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Cool news. By the way, anybody know why the Quad4 program was abruptly scrapped in favor of EcoTec? Not exactly a complaint, but I do recall the advertising campaign that described it as GM's last hope. There was also the awkwardly named single camshaft QuadOHC. This Quad4 / QuadOHC motor line was supposed to be offered in widely varying displacements.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm just hoping to see them tune it a little better. When they put the 2.2 in anything other then there smaller cars it feels like driving a Caliber or a Sebring. At the vary least get rid of the annoying whine.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tuning for performance is easy if you have a larger budget or don't care about meeting emissions standards.

        The 2.2L in the Cobalt XFE makes 155 hp and is 4 valves per cylinder and has variable valve timing, so the torque curve is pretty broad for a small displacement 4 cylinder. Keep in mind the 2.2L sees duty in the economy cars and is limited by how much $$$ is devoted to powertrain. In an econobox, reliability and fuel economy win out.

        We have built a 2.0L ecotec N/A engine that made 260 hp @ 9000 rpm - but nobody wanted to spend the (necessary) extra cash to add it to their platform (not to mention there were no flyweight sporty cars to put it in).
        • 5 Years Ago

        It's really a shame about the 2.0L turbo Ecotec. It's an interesting engine, and they really should sell it as a crate engine along side the V8s.
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