General Motors Continues Diesel Venture

by : Anthony Fontanelle

Detroit automaker General Motors recently announced that they have bought 50 percent stake of an Italian diesel engine manufacturer. This move shows that the carmaker is indeed pushing through with its promise to manufacture diesel engine Cadillac and Saturn auto models in the near future.

General Motors bought 50 percent of VM Motori S.p.A. from Penske Corporation. The agreement will increase General Motors' presence in the growing diesel engine market. Due to increasing call for fuel efficient vehicles, diesel engines are now being developed to be cleaner than their predecessors. The new generation of diesel engines is considered as one of the many solutions to the increasing threat of global warming.

"Diesel engines have a very important role in GM's global advanced propulsion strategy," said Tom Stephens, the group vice president of General Motors Global Powertrain and Quality. "We are leveraging expertise and resources within our company and through technology partners to ensure we develop the world's best powertrains," he added.

General Motors Vice President of Engineering, Dan Hancock, said that they are interested in the acquisition of a controlling share of VM Motori as the company is considered an expert in developing and manufacturing diesel engines. According to Hancock, they are interested in the diesel engines produced by the company for mid-sized trucks used as commercial vehicles in the markets in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Aside from making engines for mid-sized trucks, VM Motori is also engaged in the fabrication of diesel engines for passenger vehicles. These engines produce less greenhouse gas emissions which are considered to be as clean as the emission produced by some gasoline engines. General Motors also announced that they will be working with VM Motori in the development of a new GM 2.9-liter V6 diesel engine which will be used for the 2009 Cadillac CTS which is scheduled to be marketed in Europe.

It can be remembered that General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz announced last week that General Motors will be equipping cars, crossovers, SUVs, and pickup trucks with diesel engines for the United States auto market. Lutz said that they will be introducing Cadillac and Saturn auto models with diesel engines soon.

Although Cadillac is an unlikely candidate for its luxury brand standing, Saturn seems to be a better fit to diesel technology. After all, General Motors is in the process of revitalizing Saturn's lineup that even are redesigned, the introduction of a diesel variant in the lineup will make the transformation of the division complete.

Although there seems to be a connection with the statement of Bob Lutz last week and the agreement with VM Motori, Hancock refused to say whether there is a connection. Hancock also refused to comment on the issue surrounding General Motors' plan to build and market a diesel Cadillac in the United States auto market in the near future.

Automotive News reported that a 2.9-liter diesel engine can be expected to come with the Cadillac CTS and the Saturn Aura in 2009 and 2010 respectively. With this development, it can be expected that diesel engines are coming to the United States not only from foreign automobile manufacturers but also from domestic automakers like General Motors and Ford.