GM Investments Safeguard Future of Small-Block V-8

Internal-combustion engines are vital to GM and will be for years to come, as many customers are not ready to make the switch to electric vehicles, Executive Vice President Gerald Johnson says.

Joseph Szczesny

January 25, 2023

3 Min Read
GM Bay City GPS
GM spending $216 million at Bay City, MI, operations in preparation for production of V-8 engine components.General Motors

FLINT, MI – General Motors is signaling it is not giving up on the internal-combustion engine in the U.S. market as it prepares to spend $918 million at four plants spread across Michigan, Ohio and New York that will produce the next-generation small-block V-8.

“We’re committed to electric vehicles. We’re equally committed to the internal-combustion engine,” Gerald Johnson, GM executive vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability, says during a press conference at GM’s Flint Engine Operations here.

The Flint factory will get the biggest share of the new investment, $579 million, to prepare for production of the sixth generation of the legendary small-block V-8 for the legion of GM customers who want an ICE in their pickup trucks or sport utility vehicles, Johnson (pictured, below left) says.

GM EVP Gerald Johnson.png

GM EVP Gerald Johnson

The ICE business is vital to GM and will be for years to come, as a substantial number of customers are not ready to make the switch to EVs, he says. By investing nearly $1 billion, the company highlights its commitment to continue providing customers a strong portfolio of ICE vehicles well into the future while continuing to accelerate its transformation to an all-electric future, Johnson says.

The new investment in ICEs does not mean GM is backing away from its commitment to phasing out its ICE vehicles by 2035, Johnson adds.

GM is not yet announcing when production of the new small-block V-8 will begin, or precisely which vehicles will use the new engines. But he says the significant investments GM is making will “strengthen our industry-leading lineup of fullsize pickups and SUVs.”

The automaker plans to spend an additional $216 million at the GM plant in Bay City, MI, to prepare the facility to build camshafts, connecting rods and block/head machining supporting future V-8 production at Flint Engine Operations.

GM will invest $55 million in its casting operation in Defiance, OH. Roughly $47 million is earmarked for preparing the plant to make a variety of block castings to support future V-8 engine programs. Another $8 million will be used to build a casting development cell for castings to support future electric-vehicle strategies, according to the GM announcement.

GM will invest a total of $68 million in a plant in Rochester, NY (pictured, below), including $12 million to prepare the facility to make intake manifolds and fuel rails for the future V-8 production at Flint Engine Operations. The investment also sets aside $56 million to produce battery-pack cooling lines for EVs.

GM Rochester (2).jpg

GM Rochester (2)

Over the years, all four plants targeted in the new round of investment have turned up on analysts’ speculative lists of GM plants that could close as it makes the transition to EVs and scales back the production of ICE vehicles.

“These investments, coupled with the hard work and dedication of our team members in Flint, Bay City, Rochester and Defiance, enable us to build world-class products for our customers and provide job security at these plants for years to come,” adds Johnson, who will be responsible for contract negotiations with the UAW later this year.

“The teams in Rochester and Defiance are also leading our transformation to an all-electric future,” Johnson adds. “Their flexibility to build components for both internal-combustion and electric vehicles highlights why our manufacturing team is second to none.”

The scope of the investment even surprised employees at Flint Engine Operations, where 500 hourly and 200 salaried employees build the 1.5L engine for the Chevrolet Malibu and a 3.0L turbodiesel (pictured, below) used in Chevrolet and GMC pickup trucks and fullsize SUVs.

“I knew something was coming. But I didn’t expect it to be so much,” says Preston Walker, a team leader in the plant and 26-year GM veteran.

The announcement brings GM’s manufacturing investment commitments in the U.S. to more than $37 billion since 2013, including the Ultium Cells joint-venture plants.

GM Duramax 3.0L turbodiesel.jpg

GM Duramax 3.0L turbodiesel_0

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