By on January 16, 2018

Image: GM

General Motors has a new in-house 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel planned for its next-generation full-size pickups, and, while it won’t be available from launch, now we know where it’s being built.

GM’s vice president of global propulsion systems, Dan Nicholson, says the engine — which came as a surprise announcement during the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado’s weekend debut — will hail from Flint, Michigan.

Nicholson confirmed to Automotive News that the new mill’s production will be in a plant known for building the company’s last inline-six: the Atlas 4.2-liter found in the automaker’s midsize SUVs and trucks.

This nugget of information shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, at least not if you watched Saturday’s Silverado unveiling. During the event, GM product chief Mark Reuss told media they could expect “to see some announcements around Flint.”

Flint Engine Operations will start assembling the new light-duty diesels late this year or early next. Designed to give Ford Motor Company’s recently announced 3.0-liter diesel V6 a run for its money, the engine’s development took place at the General Motors diesel center of excellence in Turin. While output and fuel economy specs remain a mystery, GM’s new powerplant gains a helping hand from the next-gen truck’s 450 pounds of weight reduction and the addition of a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Ford claims it’s aiming for an EPA highway fuel economy rating of 30 miles per gallon. If GM’s able to beat that engine’s 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft, as well as its final economy figures, expect an emergency meeting in Dearborn.

[Image: General Motors]

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39 Comments on “GM’s 3.0-liter Inline-six Diesel Bound for Flint Factory...”

  • avatar

    Reversing the previous trend of lopping two cylinders off a V8 to make a V6, GM has now added two cylinders to a 2.0 liter inline 4.

    Heavy-duty head gaskets are an available option, for an additional charge.

  • avatar

    great news for Fashionable Flint Michigan.

  • avatar

    GM diesel excellence center in Turin?

    MOPAR is already sourcing an Italian diesel, GM is next.

    5.7 Olds anyone?

    • 0 avatar

      “General Motors’ diesel development center in Turin, Italy, will be one of the company’s few remaining European outposts once the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group closes this year.”

      “Dan Nicholson, GM’s vice president of global propulsion systems, told reporters that the Torino engineering center, born out of the ashes of the failed GM-Fiat powertrain alliance, employs some of the industry’s most capable diesel engineers.”

    • 0 avatar

      Because GM has only built one Diesel, ever, and it was the 5.7L Olds, which by the way they learned nothing from.

      Ford is testing a new Focus. Pinto, anyone? Makes as much sense.

      And now GM? GM has been sourcing the diesel for the Cruze, Equinox and Colorado from VM Motori for a while now.

    • 0 avatar

      The Olds 5.7 wasn’t a bad engine or terrible design but typical GM had go cheap on filtration and water separation, and at a time when diesel fuel was horrible. Mine ran perfectly with an aftermarket filter setup, but I remember filling up a 5 gallon can with diesel at an off-brand station and the diesel was dark brown, half sludge, so I complained to the attendant and he said “So what??”. I told him it was going in my Olds 5.7 so he gave me back my 5 bucks and poured the can back in the inground tank!

      • 0 avatar

        I thought they had design flaws that caused blown head gaskets, aside from the gelling fuel.

        • 0 avatar

          JTaurus, you are correct. GMs insistence on being able to use the same tooling for the gas 5.7 meant the same head bolt pattern as the non diesel engine. Despite thicker head bolts and a different gasket, ultimately it was not able to provide a durable seal in the real world.

          I’m willing to bet that the engineers had all the documented information regarding a short life but the beancounters greenlit it anyway because of the pressure to get mileage up.

      • 0 avatar

        Sounds about right. I think the 5.7 used a Stanadyne injection pump. The 6.2 / 6.5, and international 6.9 / 7.3 all used Stanadyne DB2 pumps which are nearly identical without much issue.

  • avatar

    Offer in 1500 Suburban – PLEASE.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, and Tahoe too. Ford should also consider adding its diesel to the Expedition.

      And GM, if you ever get around to redoing the Express/Savana in the next 20 or 40 years, give the diesel six to them, too.

      • 0 avatar

        You can get the 2.8 diesel in the van in half ton.. At least they say you can

        • 0 avatar


          I hadn’t heard they added the 2.8 diesel to the Express until you mentioned it. It’s true, and in the 3500 too not just the half ton. The 6.0 V8 gas is still the towing champ, and I doubt an I6 would fit in the Express but the torque discussed for this new 3.0 diesel would top the 6.0 V8.

  • avatar

    I <3 I6s, diesel, gas bring 'em on.

  • avatar

    Ford’s going with a V6 and GM with an inline. Should make for interesting water cooler talk though Cummins went with a V configuration for their small displacement 6 that’s in the Nissan, for what that’s worth.

    • 0 avatar

      The Cummins engine in the Titan XD is a V8, and it’s 5.7L so I don’t think that qualifies as “small displacement” in the light vehicle sector. The first light-duty Cummins was a 5.9 I6 so the new V8 is almost as big.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Cost is the reason for V8s, they are cheaper than inline 8s and use a lot less length.

      Inline sixes are the best engine for heavy trucks. You don’t see many heavy diesels that are V.

      The V6 was not because of the V8 in so far as the compact V6 could be easier to slot in FWD vehicles in lieu of a inline 4.

      An inline six is superior to a V6. V configured engines really don’t offer anything other than cost and size.

  • avatar

    Stick this in the Suburban/Tahoe/Yukon please! Mind you, I still wouldn’t be able to afford one :-(

  • avatar

    I hope for GM’s sake that this is more reliable than the awful Atlas. I was so psyched that GM was coming out with a new Inline 6, and so terribly disappointed when it turned out to be such a turd.

    • 0 avatar

      What was so bad about the Atlas I6? The GMT360s it went in are definitely not renowned for high quality but other than poor fuel economy I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything specifically terrible about that engine. If anything I’ve seen more issues on the 5.3L of that era.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      The Italians have some of the best diesel tech going.

      There is no modern diesel that can’t thank Fiat enough for CRD and direct injection.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I did a little research regarding what engines were designed in GM’s Torino diesel centre of excellence.

    There is a 2 litre diesel that “came” out of Torino that has 195hp and around 300ftlb of torque.

    So it is feasible that GM will trounce the Lion in power (270-280hp?) and have around 445ftlb of torque.

    If the inline six can do that it will be impressive.

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