While the ever-tightening CAFE noose continues to threaten its existence, there's still life in General Motors' venerable small-block V8 engine family. To make sure that legacy continues, GM has announced it will spend $890 million to renovate five existing powertrain facilities to build the next-generation of what is promise will be cleaner and more efficient successors. Over half of that amount will be divided between two final assembly plants in Tonawanda, New York ($400 million), and St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada ($235 million). The remainder will benefit three other factories dedicated to block casting and component manufacturing located in Defiance, Ohio ($115 million), Bedford, Indiana ($111 million) and Bay City, Michigan $32 million). Beyond mere funding, the program will serve to create or help retain over 1,600 jobs.
In addition to monies specifically dedicated to facility renovation, a significant portion of this investment will be used to underwrite more sophisticated tooling that will enhance both the flexibility and precision of the machining and final assembly procedures. It will also go towards improving the actual sand-casting technology that's a critical part of the initial block-production process.
According to GM, the next generation of its small-V8 engine family will be exclusively based on lightweight aluminum blocks, feature direct fuel injection and incorporate an all-new advanced combustion system. While few other specifics were offered, the statement did note that in addition to being super-efficient, all iterations of this new V8 will be E85 capable. GM made no mention of the introduction date for these new V8s; however the first use seems most likely in the 2014 model year when the Chevy/GMC full-size pickups are expected to be redesigned.