It matters not whether you want to chalk it up to rising fuel prices or a gradual change in vehicle buying preferences, the reality is that the American public keeps snatching up fuel-efficient vehicles powered by four-cylinder engines. Of course, soaring demand for four-cylinder-engined vehicles means that automakers must pump up output of the once-lowly four-bangers. General Motors is doing exactly that.

The additional demand for GM's Ecotec four-cylinder engines used in several of the automakers cars and crossovers warrants an investment of $65 million at two of The General's plants; Tonawanda Powertain in New York and Spring Hill Powertrain in Tennessee. The $65 million investment – to be split almost equally between the two facilities – will create or retain 163 jobs.

In addition, GM announced that its Saginaw Metal Casting Operations will begin to export aluminum castings for the 2.4-liter Ecotec engine that is used in some Chevrolet and Opel models sold in Asia.

[Source: General Motors]
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Demand for Four-Cylinder Engines Drives Plant Investments

2011-06-17

Tonawanda Powertrain gets $33 million; creates/retains 100 jobs
Spring Hill Powertrain gets $32 million; creates/retains 63 jobs

DETROIT – Additional need for Ecotec four-cylinder engines used in Chevrolet's fuel-efficient cars and crossovers, including the all-new 2013 Malibu, is driving $65 million in new investment at plants in New York and Tennessee that will create or retain 163 jobs.

"GM is committed to investing in manufacturing and jobs in the U.S.," said Cathy Clegg, vice president Labor Relations. "These investments in powertrain manufacturing technology will help us meet the growing needs of our customers for high quality, fuel efficient vehicles - both today and in the future."

In Tonawanda, N.Y., additional capacity is being added for engines used in the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers that achieve 32 mpg on the highway and can travel up to 600 miles between fill-ups. GM is investing $33 million that will create or retain 100 jobs.

In Spring Hill, Tenn., the engine plant is adding capacity for direct-injection four-cylinder engines to support the acceleration of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. GM Is investing $32 million that will create or retain 63 positions.

The next-generation Malibu is scheduled to start production in early 2012. It will be sold in about 100 countries on six continents. Chevrolet will begin sales in the United States with the Eco, the most fuel-efficient Malibu ever. It features GM's 2.4L Ecotec with eAssist technology. Malibu will debut an all-new 2.5L Ecotec engine next summer. The new Malibu will be assembled at the Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas City, Kan., and Detroit-Hamtramck plant in the United States, as well as other plants around the world.

"With gas prices becoming increasingly unstable, investment in new powertrains is vital if GM wants to be competitive," said Joe Ashton, UAW vice president-GM Department. "Our customers want vehicles that get great gas mileage and our members have proven they can build innovative products that exceed our customers' expectations."

The Tonawanda and Spring Hill investments are part of $2 billion in U.S. manufacturing investment GM announced May 10 that will create or retain 4,000 jobs in 17 facilities in eight states. These investments are in addition to $3.4 million GM has invested in U.S. manufacturing facilities since July 2009, adding or retaining more than 9,000 jobs.

Additionally, GM announced Friday the Saginaw Metal Casting Operations will export aluminum castings for the lightweight Ecotec 2.4L engine that is used in fuel-efficient vehicles like the Opel Antara and Chevrolet Captiva in Asia. The Saginaw work will create or retain 53 jobs.

General Motors (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM), one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 202,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in more than 120 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 30 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Baojun, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Daewoo, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall, and Wuling. GM's largest national market is China, followed by the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Italy. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.

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