General Motors will invest $370 million to build a new manufacturing plant in Flint, MI, to manufacture the four-cylinder engines it announced earlier this year. Production will begin in 2010, and will be the exclusive manufacturing facility in North America to produce the new global engine platform: a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine planned for the Chevrolet Cruze and a 1.4-liter naturally aspirated engine for the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV.)
Four-cylinder aluminum blocks for these products will be cast at GM Powertrain’s Saginaw (MI) Metal Casting operation. According to the automaker, both models are critical elements of its plan to double its global production of smaller engines by 2011, more than half of which expansion is planned in North America.
Tom Stephens, GM executive vice president of Global Powertrain and Global Quality stated: “The new 1.4L turbo for the Chevrolet Cruze highlights GM’s global commitment to offering engines that provide outstanding fuel efficiency without compromising vehicle performance. The new 1.4L turbocharged engine has the power of a larger engine, but retains the efficiency of a small-displacement four-cylinder. And with this engine, we expect the Cruze to be a fuel economy leader in its segment when it’s introduced in early 2010.”
A new, 552,000-ft2 plant will be built for the project, and GM has committed $21 million of its total project cost to install vendor tooling. As an operation, the Flint engine plant will be designed for flexible production of different engine models, with 300 workcells capable of assembling multiple four-cylinder engine families without retooling.
As a bonus, the new plant will be LEED-certified and “landfill free,” meaning all of its waste will be recycled, reused or converted to energy.