GM invests $1.3 billion in fuel-efficient engines

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GM engine assembly

GM engine assembly

It’s no secret hybrid and electric cars are the way of the future, and General Motors committing more than $1 billion to produce new fuel-efficient engines and transmissions is an indication of just how much more prominence the vehicles could soon have.

Five of GM’s manufacturing sites, including plants in Flint, Detroit and Romulus, Michigan, Toledo, Ohio and Bedford, Indiana, are being upgraded to produce the new parts, enhance vehicle quality and streamline logistics. Each will support the production of a new V-6 engine, new 10-speed transmission and an existing 6-speed transmission.

Beyond just building, the sizeable investment by GM will go toward assembly plant upgrades, which will include a new paint shop and logistics optimization center.

GM's Toledo plant is one of five getting a facelift as the brand moves toward making more fuel-efficient engines.
GM’s Toledo plant is one of five getting a facelift as the brand moves toward making more fuel-efficient engines.

GM Executive Vice President and North American President Mark Reuss said, “GM is committed to a strong American manufacturing base and creating jobs in dozens of communities throughout the country. …[Announced] plant upgrades continue the momentum of a resurgent auto industry. More importantly, these investments add up to higher quality and more fuel-efficient vehicles for our customers.”

The added 10-speed automatic transmission is expected to contribute to improved fuel economy and performance. Some of the other details GM released about the approximately $1.3 billion investment revolved around a serious upgrade for the Flint facility and more than $30 million going to increase capacity for an existing 6-speed transmission and tooling for a new variant.

General Motors wasn’t the only manufacturing making headlines for trying to better their lineup’s fuel efficiency. Hyundai and its affiliate, Kia Motors, launched three new mid-size hybrids in their home market of Seoul, Korea. The move was part of the company’s ongoing strategy to strengthen their output of fuel efficient, eco-friendly cars.

Sales of the Grandeur, K7 and K5 models started in dealerships across Korea, with the two manufacturers now fielding a total of five hybrid vehicles. In foreign markets, the cars will be marketed under the already established Azera, Cadenza and Optima nameplates.

Hyundai and Kia jointly announced that they hope the three new cars will expand consumer selection options and appeal to the ever-increasing Earth-conscious buyer’s market. The Grandeur and K7 both offer “premium” handling characteristics to appeal to the call for a more “up driving” experience from hybrid vehicles.

Hyundai claims drivers can save up to $4,700 per year in gas costs if the vehicle is driven 20,000 kilometers over five years.