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GM, China team up on engines

2010-08-18 08:01
General Motors and Chinese partner SAIC announced Wednesday plans for joint development of fuel-efficient small engines and transmissions, focusing squarely on the fastest-growing segment of China's huge auto market.

The companies, which run several joint ventures including their flagship Shanghai GM, will develop a 1 liter to 1.5 litre direct-injection, turbocharged petrol engine to be used by both sides in China and in globally sold vehicles, they said.

The work will be done in Detroit and at Shanghai's Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center, the companies' joint venture engineering and design centre.

China is the biggest auto market by number of vehicles sold, and automakers like GM are looking to the country to drive revenues and offset weak global demand, though growth has fallen off since a boom last year fueled by tax cuts and subsidies.

Those incentives, aimed mainly at fuel-efficient vehicles, spurred a surge in sales of Wuling minivans, Chevrolet Sails and other small cars.

"Together, we will continue to quickly provide our customers leading-edge technologies that improve fuel efficiency and deliver robust performance," said Tom Stephens, GM's vice chairman of global products operations.

The new engine project will also develop front-wheel-drive transmissions to provide about a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency over conventional automatic transmissions, GM said.

Overall, vehicles powered by the new engines and transmissions will see up to a 20% improvement in carbon-dioxide emissions, it said.

The companies did not provide any financial figures for the new project.

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