GM Defiance in Line for $47-Million Expansion

Foundry to increase capacity again for Ecotec, small-block engines


General Motors Corp.’s metalcasting operation in Defiance, OH, will be the site of a $47-million capital investment to install new tooling and equipment that will increase capacity for engine parts, for the Ecotec 1.4-liter engine as well as for “the next generation of small block car and truck engines.”

Specific details of the machinery or processes to be installed were not released.

“This investment reflects the growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Volt, and the all-new Sonic,” according to a statement by GM Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones. “The products produced here will help our customers deal with rising fuel prices.”

The project follows an earlier announcement of a $49-million program at GM’s Bedford, IN, foundry, to produce parts for GM’s forthcoming eight-speed transmission and a yet-to-be announced small engine program.

Since early May, GM has been rolling out the announcements of a $2-billion capital improvement plant at the 17 plants that will be the sites for the investment.

GM’s Defiance plant produces iron and aluminum castings for cylinder blocks, cylinder heads and crankshafts. Since 2010 it has been the object of an estimated $187 million total investment to add and expand capacity for casting, finishing, and premachining, including a new precision sand molding line for the Ecotec engine and small-block and truck engines.

The Ecotec series was introduced in 2007, and is offered now in several different displacements. The 1.4-liter version is a cast-iron, turbocharged engine offered on several versions of the Chevy Cruze.

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