GM Inside News Forum banner
1 - 20 of 113 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,048 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·


By Bill Visnic

PONTIAC, Michigan - The world's largest car company is ready to respond to the public's newfound craving for increased fuel economy with a range of smaller engines. But customers are going to have to indicate they're really serious about downsizing their powerplant expectations.

Thomas G. Stephens, General Motors Corp.'s executive vice president, global powertrain and global quality, said at the recent inauguration of the company's new Powertrain Engineering Development Center here that he's delighted with the engine options at his disposal for answering growing demand for better fuel economy. But that's going to mean U.S. customers will have to signal their readiness to accept smaller engines - in effect reversing a long trend for ever-larger engines and more horsepower.

For one example, Stephens says of the potential for a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine for a vehicle such as the Cadillac CTS midsize sedan: "From a technical point of view, we could do it today."

But, Stephens cautioned, marketing in many segments traditionally has focused on engine cylinder count and power ratings - totems Stephens isn't certain all customers, particularly those shopping in the premium- or sporty-vehicle segments, are entirely ready to give up.

Stephens said GM Powertrain already has a selection of smaller but feisty engines capable of delivering better fuel economy. The turbocharged 4-cylinder Ecotec, for example, replacing a larger-displacement V6. Or a direct-injected V6 standing in for the time-honored V8.

"We're ready. When (customers) want it (the option of smaller engines) - we'll do it."

GM already has said it will cut back on V8 production, and recently decided to suspend the development program for an all-new V8 that effectively would have replaced the aging Northstar architecture...



(Article continued at link)
http://www.autoobserver.com/2008/07/gm-ready-for-smaller-engines-when-customers-are.html


This is much better than the Jalopnik interpretation of things, which is:

Cadillac is ready to downsize the engines in their luxury offerings — and they have the ability to do it today if that's what customers indicate they want, according to GM Exec VP Thomas G. Stephens. Auto Observer reports he specifically mentioned the possibility of dropping a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, like the turbo Ecotec, into the Cadillac CTS, along with the possibility of trading cylinder count and displacement for turbocharging and direct injection, which is Ford's EcoBoost strategy. Said Stephens, "We're ready. When (customers) want it - we'll do it." While the idea of a four-banger CTS Wagon is pretty alluring, we see a problem with their strategy...
http://jalopnik.com/399531/cadilliac-will-downsize-engines-when-customers-prove-thats-what-they-want


My own take:

GM needs to get through its head that it isn't all-or-nothing with fuel economy. They've already killed Northstar without making much headway in entry-level fuel economy on vehicles like Aveo, automatic Cobalt/G5, and midsize V6s on Epsilon. Focus on improving fuel economy for the mainstream and leave the option for more luxury, power, and refinement for those that can afford the status symbol. Don't cheapen the brand cache of Cadillac by marketing it as a economy car. Besides, where would that leave Saab with its exclusive 4 cylinder turbo luxury? Don't allow Cadillac to eat another exclusive brand segment (as it has already done with Oldsmobile, GMC, and Pontiac, and failed to do with Corvette).

On a positive note, perhaps this does mean GM is listening to us. We do demand better fuel efficiency from Aveo, Cobalt, Astra, compact SUVs such as Vue, and from the V6 offerings. We also want to see a weight reduction across the board.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,963 Posts
Hopefully this 1.4T motor can help elevate GM's CAFE enough where they can bring back Ultra V8's.
GM, keep focus on all aspects of the powertrain options for all sorts of cars.


And in other news...what is that silver car to the left of the Malibu? Looks like a Corsa?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,889 Posts
Motor Authority also has a piece on this:

http://www.motorauthority.com/news/industry/gm-has-small-engines-ready-waiting-for-customer-demand/
For one example, Stephens says of the potential for a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine for a vehicle such as the Cadillac CTS midsize sedan: "From a technical point of view, we could do it today."

But, Stephens cautioned, marketing in many segments traditionally has focused on engine cylinder count and power ratings - totems Stephens isn't certain all customers, particularly those shopping in the premium- or sporty-vehicle segments, are entirely ready to give up.
I always wondered about this. If GM could produce a 2.4L I4 Turbo with respectable HP numbers and MPG rating, why not produce it?

The other thing to consider would be getting a smaller displacement V6 and turbo charging it - the Saab 2.8L V6 Turbo being a prime example.

I think that they could get away with forced induction I4s and smaller displacement/forced induction V6s if need be. But that's just me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,438 Posts
Sounds like GM isn't going to offer the smaller engines until customers have shown they want them. So how exactly, do customers signal that they want smaller engines? Buying from competitors who make smaller motors available?

Is GM's plan really to let "a few" sales get away, then respond to the market? Respond. you know, it's what you do when you've missed the boat on something.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,653 Posts
Someone please tell me how on earth customers are supposed to "signal their readiness to accept smaller engines". Is GM staring at a Ouija board? Is it scanning the sky for smoke signals? Here is a signal that GM can interpret: Toyota is sold out of the Prius, and Honda is making a profit.

Or how about this: Saturn offers a 4 cylinder Aura, and sales go up. Or: Chevrolet offers a manual only Cobalts XFE, and they sell 4 times as many as they thought they would.

And one more thing. If Cadillac could do a turbocharged engine, and I quote, "today", why are we not going to see a Beat for 4 years?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,750 Posts
This discussion has focussed on L4 vs V8. I personally would like to see GM do a lot more with its V6 engines. In the past GM has made a V6 as large as 4.3 Liters all of the way down to a V6 as small as 2.8 Liters and everything in between. It seem to me that there's a lot of room to accomodate many larger vehicles with V6 engines that currently have V8, and then add a turbo. Cadillac would have absolutely no problem selling a CTS-V with a Turbo V6. it cetainly doesn't cheapen this premium brand. Buick and Pontiac could also benefit form a range of turbo V6 engines.

What ever the Engine is, 4 cylinder or V-6, it is clear that a turbo can get big Horse Power numbers and better fuel economy. Look at the HHR SS for proof of this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,904 Posts
hhhmmm.....lets see....Honda which doesn't produce any large displacement engines has done fairly well as other companies have seen recent drops....ya think maybe people want smaller displacement motors?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,107 Posts
WTF is wrong with GM? Is Cadillac the first brand they think of when it comes to efficiency and frugality?

The only reason the CTS should even be mentioned in the fuel efficiency discussion is in terms of reducing weight (and a 4 cylinder with its current weight would be a dog).

As has been the case for years now, GM's problem isn't having the right powertrains, it's getting the other things right on vehicles with existing decent powertrains. Make the Aveo and Cobalt competitive in terms of design and interior. Reduce the weight of the Vue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
641 Posts
Sounds like GM isn't going to offer the smaller engines until customers have shown they want them. So how exactly, do customers signal that they want smaller engines? Buying from competitors who make smaller motors available?

Is GM's plan really to let "a few" sales get away, then respond to the market? Respond. you know, it's what you do when you've missed the boat on something.
Totally with you here. It's time to quit being timid and lead instead of losing more market share to ToyoHonda. Let's get out in front for a change instead of playing catchup. I would think the "unexpected" success of the XFE would be enough to convince these guys. It also sounded like those who drove the DI V6 Camaro thought the car was great. At this point it's time to quit running scared or a date with the bankruptcy judge will be inevitable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
665 Posts
Most consumer today seek good performance and fuel economy. The average car buyer doesn't even know what size motor is under their hood. I polled a few people in my office and they really don't know. Their concern was did the motor move the car okay and is it good on gas.

If GM was building highout 4 cylinders that were smooth, had good passing power and great fuel economy, consumers would buy them. How can we the consumer signal our "indication" to GM if they aren't offering us the product?

I remain amazed that GM has so many good, fuel efficient cars around the world that they don't offer in North America. I don't think the consumer is as much the issue as GM's NA management.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,889 Posts
Or how about this: Saturn offers a 4 cylinder Aura, and sales go up. Or: Chevrolet offers a manual only Cobalts XFE, and they sell 4 times as many as they thought they would.
Absolutely. These are clear indications and signs that some of these "simplistic" measures are working - and should be a clue enough that customers want these types of products.
And one more thing. If Cadillac could do a turbocharged engine, and I quote, "today", why are we not going to see a Beat for 4 years?
I wonder about this as well. What has me stumped is that GM has said that any future products they sell will be built with all world markets in mind. So if the Beat is to be based on the next generation Gamma platform - and a stretched version of that same platform will be underpinning the Aveo replacement and possibly a small crossover - how come it will work with these products but not with the Beat? Is there something the stretched version will have that the "shorter" version will lack?

Just annoys me. Even though the Beat (or whatever GM finally decides to call it) will be smaller than the Aveo, there is not reason to think that some customers wouldn't want it. True, there is limited appeal for small, city-cars in the US, but the fuel economy numbers alone would drive sales. I would love to see GM sell such a product here and proclaim it gets 50 MPG on regular gas, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
913 Posts
For one example, Stephens says of the potential for a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine for a vehicle such as the Cadillac CTS midsize sedan: "From a technical point of view, we could do it today."

Great...but CTS doesn't need I4 T engine ..it need V8 below V series. Put I4 T in future alpha cadillac. And then combine two of that I4 T to make one V8 TT for caddy:).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,791 Posts
No #$%@. Who the hell is going to want an anemic engine in the CTS. What's next, a 3-cylinder in a Suburban? The trick, Tommy-boy, is to put small engines in small affordable cars. How about readying those, huh?
This is of course a farse by GM to "prove" that no one wants small engines. "Hey look, we're doing all we can: offering tiny engines in the CTS, Camaro, etc. and no one's buying them, therefore we'll stop production of all 4-cylinder engines."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Sometimes customers don't know what they want, you have to show them.

This reasoning about "customers aren't asking for smaller engines" is the same reasoning that got GM in trouble today with too many truck/SUV vehicles and not enough competitive smaller vehicles. GM kept saying, "but customers don't want small cars".

Next thing you know you're caught with your pants down because your competitors were showing customers what they might want, and when there was a sudden shift in consumer tastes, they were prepared for it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,275 Posts
How about a blown I4 in the Malibu which gets better fuel economy than the 3.6VVT? Oh wait, that would require creativity on GM's part.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,049 Posts
I hate to sound like a misanthrope, but consumers are generally idiots. They don't know what the heck they want. If you just wait for a critical mass of consumers to ask for a smaller engine option, you'll be waiting forever, while your competition passes you by. (I'd venture to guess the majority of drivers don't even know what size their engine is, aside from [possibly] cylinder count.

GM needs to lead by example, and start producing smaller-displacement engines that still offer power and refinement comparable to current offerings. Customers won't even realize what they're missing, but will appreciate the improved fuel economy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,231 Posts
The Aura is a great example, because the segment is dominated by 4cyl sales, but GM was insisting on pushing a "value" V6.

Also, I think it's kinda ridiculous that Grandma's V6 Camry has 270HP and can outdrag race 1980s Ferraris - there's a lot of engines out there that are vast overkill for their market segment. If they could dial back the HP and get a few more MPGs, I doubt many consumers would even notice the loss of power.
 
1 - 20 of 113 Posts
Top