GM to invest $28.4 million in Powertrain Engineering Center in Torino

General Motors says it will invest €20 million ($28.4 million U.S. at the current exchange rate) at its Powertrain Engineering Center in Torino, Italy. This investment comes on top of the €30 million ($42.6 million U.S.) that GM spent to establish the center back in 2005.

Why is this green news? Well, the Powertrain Engineering Center is responsible for the development of all diesel engines for General Motors' passenger vehicle sold 'round the world, as well as for engineering advanced technologies used on some of the automaker's hybrid vehicles.

This latest investment will enable the Center to build three dynamic engine test benches, one climatic test unit, one NVH testing system and a single chassis dyno. The five test benches allow for the virtual simulation of the entire vehicle, therefore substantially reducing development times and simplifying the engine tuning process. In particular, the chassis dyno will allow for emissions tests on upcoming vehicles. GM says that, ultimately, the Center will feature 20 test benches and several laboratories dedicated to the development and optimization of engine components.

[Source: General Motors]
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GM Powertrain Engineering Center Torino Invests 20 mio €


Total investment of 50 mio € since founding the center in 2005
Currently operating at full capacity
New projects require further expansion
Gender revolution at GM Powertrain in Torino

Turin, Italy - General Motors will invest 20 million € in the company's Powertrain Engineering Center in Torino throughout the next four years. This amount comes on top of the initial investment of 30 million € when the center was founded in 2005. The Torino Center is responsible for the development of all diesel engines for General Motors passenger cars around the world, including the Opel/Vauxhall products in Europe, its diesel control systems, as well as advanced technologies on hybrids and conventional powertrains.

The new investment enables the Center to build three new dynamic engine test benches, one climatic test bench, one NVH test bench and one chassis Dyno. The five new test benches complement the 15 test benches that are already in place. They allow for a virtual simulation of the entire vehicle, therefore substantially reducing the development time and engine tuning of future engine programs. In particular the climatic test bench will allow for a simulation of temperatures ranging from -40 C° up to 70 C° and altitude variation up to 3000 meters. The NVH test bench will be used during the design and development phase of new engines and will help to minimize engine noise and vibrations. The chassis dyno will be operational in the second half of 2011 and will allow for emission tests on vehicles.

In view of the ongoing powertrain offensive at GM and Opel, the center is currently operating at full capacity. By the end of 2011, the 15 existing test benches will be fully utilized on two shifts with the option of a third shift in fully automated mode. Ultimately, the Center will feature 20 test benches, one chassis dyno and several laboratories dedicated to the development and optimization of engines components.

The investment announcement was made during the official inauguration of the center's outdoor facilities. "The new investment underscores the excellence and competence of our center. Diesel engines will continue to play an important role in the industry, and the investment is an expression of GM's and Opel's commitment to further develop and optimize this technology", said Pierpaolo Antonioli, managing director of the engineering center. "Our close collaboration with both suppliers and local institutions such as the co-located Politecnico University, is a major asset for our center and well recognized within GM."

"Today, we are also very pleased to see the completion of our campus that we have shaped and remodeled jointly together with Politecnico," Antonioli added. "This will make our center an even more attractive place to work for the many engineers who develop cutting edge technology for today and tomorrow."

The GM Engineering Center in Turin was established in 2005 with 80 employees. In September 2008 the Center moved into its new Politecnico facility, making GM the first automotive company to become a physical part of a university campus. The collaboration brings strength to engineering research and development. The center currently engineers and develops diesel engines, controls and advanced propulsion systems. The Engineering Center now employees over 460 people.

Gender revolution at GM Powertrain in Torino

GM invests heavily in its groundbreaking engineering centre in Turin where more and more women now hold top positions.

Torino. GM announced today an extra 20m Euros in funds for its Turin centre in which women make up around 20% of its engineers. GM now has the edge over many of its competitors and over much of Italian industry when it comes to gender equality.

The women who together with their male colleagues are developing the next generation of green technology are also quite young: the average age is just 34 with some already in managerial roles. "It is a result of impartial hiring policies," says Pierpaolo Antonioli, the managing director of the centre." Mr Antonioli believes the old prejudices about women in the automotive industry have shifted -- especially at General Motors in Turin, thanks to a young management team.

In 2008, GM moved onto the campus of the prestigious "Politecnico di Torino", making it the first car company to be part of a university. This has allowed GM to target elite graduates: around 60% of the work force graduated from the "Politecnico" which is officially ranked the number one university in Italy. The engineering centre was founded six years ago but has since more than tripled in size: 450 people are now employed there.

The vice president of Opel engineering, Rita Forst, was one of the first managing directors of the centre. She says she is proud of how the site has gone from strength to strength. "It is always electrifying to come back to Turin...young spirit and energy are tangible," she says.

The Turin centre has established itself as the place where all the diesel engines for General Motors passenger vehicles from around the world are developed. It also leads the way in GM's innovative diesel control systems and new technologies for hybrids.

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