General Motors' 4.5-liter Duramax diesel V8 engine has become the latest casualty of the automotive downturn, as GM has put the promising powertrain on indefinite hold. The General follows Ford, Toyota, and Dodge in dropping light diesel engines from its near-term plans. GM spokesperson Susan Garavaglia told that the project has not been canceled, and that the General was "still very interested" in using the innovative diesel powertrain in the future.

The 4.5-liter Duramax diesel sounds terrific on paper, with a 25% improvement in fuel economy, 310 horsepower and 525 lb-ft of torque for towing, and an innovative design that cuts weight while also saving $600 per engine. The news will be difficult for fans of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra anxiously waiting for a diesel engine in a light duty pickup truck. Still, GM points out that it has a dual-mode hybrid truck that can achieve 40% better fuel economy in the city, along with a full line of gasoline and diesel engine offerings in its truck lineup.

While the 4.5-liter diesel isn't going into GM trucks and SUVs any time soon, the General says it would still consider license the technology to a third party if the deal was beneficial to all involved.


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