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Geneva News: GM reveals European powertrain strategy

GM has started to roll out three new engine families that will eventually amount to a total of 13 powertrains. The first unit was the new 1.6-litre petrol unit introduced last year, and the second phase, which began at Geneva, sees the Zafira Tourer become the first recipient of a new 1.6-litre diesel. GM has made no secret of its intention to bring out a small-capacity engine to match Ford's acclaimed three-cylinder EcoBoost.

The engines will also feature in an increasing number of GM products in other markets and have the potential to significantly reduce the group's corporate carbon footprint.

‘The 1.6 you are seeing today is the first of our new in-house-designed and developed mid-size diesels. We are also in-sourcing all the controls. A key element of this engine is that all the technology is ours to own and understand,’ said GM Europe vice president for powertrains, Michael Bly.

‘It will have sisters and brothers of different sizes, displacements and power outputs and with different turbochargers and control units. The Cascada will be first to get the new gasoline engine, and there will be smaller gas engines of three or four-cylinders and with a turbo or not. They will be introduced in Europe first, but are also for the US and China in future.’

Part of the plan will see GM introduce its first diesel passenger car in America for 25 years when it launches the Chevy Cruze with a 2.0-litre compression-ignition power unit. ‘There is still a reluctance towards diesels in the US, but things are starting to change,’ said Mr Bly.

The new engine families have been designed to fit in with GM's alternative fuel strategies, including hybridisation and stop-start and compressed natural gas and liquified petroleum gas.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.