"We're ready. When (customers) want it (the option of smaller engines) - we'll do it." That's a (somewhat mangled) quote from Thomas G. Stephens, GM's executive veep for global powertrain and quality, speaking at the inauguration of the General's Powertrain Engineering Development Center last Friday. What Stephens is referring to is the possibility of equipping Cadillacs with smaller, turbocharged engines – specifically fitting the 260-hp (or more) 2.0-liter, turbocharged four in the CTS sedan.
Sounds like a Hell of an idea, but how – exactly – is GM going to determine when consumers are ready for it? How about now?
Prices at the pump may have peaked (for now), but consumers are still craving fuel-efficient rides that don't skimp on power and poise. GM is already making V8 levels of output with its direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 (see: Camaro) and that, coupled with Stephens' quote, means that GM isn't totally oblivious to the idea of offering smaller engines that balance fuel economy and thrust in packages that might benefit from them. But again, how will the market tell GM when it's open to the idea of fewer cylinders making just as much power? Ford is already ramping up to release its line of direct injected, turbocharged EcoBoost engines, BMW has proven that turbocharged sixes are the bee's knees and practically every other automaker is looking into forced induction as a means to a lighter, more powerful, more fuel efficient end. So why is GM stalling? If the General has the capabilities, it needs to step up and let the market embrace it. It will. If GM doesn't, it risks its own extinction.
[Source: AutoObserver, Image ©2008 John Neff]