Diesels, Refinement Key To Kiefer's Vision Of Future GM Engine Development
General Motors head of global powertrain and former Delphi senior vice president of powertrain systems Steve Kiefer aims to steer engine development toward a brighter future, one influenced by his love for diesels, quietness and refinement.
Automotive News reports Kiefer’s vision may have begun to come to fruition this week with the debut of the new Ecotec family of engines slated to power 25 percent of GM’s global lineup by 2017. The eleven engines are based on older-though-proven technology found in the cam chains, blocks and other components, resulting in a family with lower NVH than previous engines. The new Ecotec family is a reflection of Kiefer’s method of improving existing technology to accomplish what competing engines already do — such as Ford’s EcoBoost — for little cost in development and assembly.
Speaking of Ford, both the Blue Oval and the General are collaborating on a new generation of nine- and 10-speed transmissions for their respective pickups, with the latter expected to arrive in two years. Though no word has been said on whether GM will either use diesel power or smaller gasoline engines in their fullsize trucks, Kiefer’s experience on the supply side of the industry — especially in regards to knowing what the competition is doing to be green and efficient — could prove valuable in the long run.
Back on topic (spare tires?), I cannot understand what this new guy Kiefer is on about. Here TTAC reports: " The new Ecotec family is a reflection of Kiefer’s method of improving existing technology to accomplish what competing engines already do — such as Ford’s EcoBoost — for little cost in development and assembly." At the Society of Automotive Engineers, we get this: " The Modular Ecotec family is a clean-sheet design, with more than 300 engineers involved with its development, Sutter said. Pontiac, MI, and Russelsheim, Germany were the lead technical facilities for the base architecture, with GM Powertrain Shanghai, Bangalore, and Seoul contributing significant systems work including control software and the PFI systems development and integration. The turbocharger systems partner is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), and Continental led development of the fuel system." Either it took just a few administrative pen strokes to make this new engine line as per Kiefer, or it was a balls to the wall effort by GM Powertrain. I tend to believe the SAE, not puff piece speeches made up to pull wool over the eyes of investors. http://articles.sae.org/12970/
top level engineers are undervalued in importance to the company. we all know of Red Ink Rick but how many remember Gerald Elson or Tom Stephens? these guys made it happen. Wagoner was a pinhead.
It should also be mentioned that these small Ecotec engines were all developed in GM's PATAC tech center in Shanghai.
I've rented Cruzes. And I agree, the interiors are quite nice. Not 100% on par with class leader VW, but the differences are tiny and subtle.