GM announced on Friday that it would be spending $854 million to make its sixth-generation small block V8, and $64 million to help its EV efforts, in news that sounds like it belongs in a different year but isn’t. The news also confirms that a sixth-generation small block V8 is happening, which GM says it intends to use to “strengthen its industry-leading full-size truck and SUV business.”
The fifth-generation V8 is currently used in a variety of cars, trucks, and SUVs in a variety of configurations, from the base C8 Corvettes to some versions of the Sierra. News that there will be a sixth-gen comes as only a small surprise, as GM expects to still be selling a lot of gas trucks and SUVs for years to come, likely in part because towing range in electric vehicles still sucks.
At any rate, GM detailed the news investments as follows:
- Flint Engine Operations in Michigan – GM will invest $579 million to prepare the plant to assemble GM’s sixth generation family of Small Block V-8 gas engines along with the related block, crank and head machining. Work at the facility will begin immediately. Flint will continue building the 3.0L turbo-diesel during the facility renovations. GM’s 3.0L diesel is used in a variety of light-duty truck applications.
- Bay City GPS in Michigan – GM will invest $216 million to prepare the facility to build camshafts, connecting rods and block/head machining supporting future V-8 production at Flint Engine Operations.
- Defiance Operations in Ohio – GM will invest $55 million in the Defiance facility. $47 million will be invested to prepare the facility to build a variety of block castings to support future V-8 engine programs. In addition, the investment includes $8 million to build a casting development cell for castings to support future EV strategies.
- Rochester Operations in New York – GM will invest a total of $68 million in the Rochester facility. $12 million will be invested to prepare the facility to build intake manifolds and fuel rails for the future V-8 production at Flint Engine Operations. In addition, the investment includes $56 million for the production of battery pack cooling lines for EV production.
I’m sure GM will find a way to make the sixth-gen V8 slightly more efficient than the fifth-gen, though Chevy’s small block V8 is used in so many different vehicles that it’s hard to think of it as any one thing. What this really says is that GM knows the electric future is a long-term deal, and it’ll be needing a lot more V8s in the near-term.
I’m happy for the workers, too, who probably spend some amount of time wondering about job security.
“Our union celebrates the announcement of these new investments into our GM facilities, which will benefit our members at Locals 659 (Flint, Michigan), 362 (Bay City, Michigan), 211 (Defiance, Ohio) and 1097 (Rochester, New York),” UAW President Ray Curry said in the press release. “The skill and dedication of UAW members are a key part of GM’s success, and this investment recognizes that our members will remain a vital part of GM’s future.”