General Motors is calling on Chinese partner SAIC to help develop a new downsized gasoline engine family and an advanced dual clutch transmission, one of the first major developments between the two automotive giants and surely not the last.
The new engines, which will be offered in displacements ranging from 1.0- to 1.5-liters, will be aimed primarily at customers in emerging markets such as China, India and South America and should be available in the second half of next year. However, as Western markets continue to flock to efficient downsized engines, we wouldn’t be surprised to see versions of the new engines appear in entry-level models even in the North American market.
The new front-wheel drive transmission dual clutch transmission, also being developed, will provide upward of 10 percent improvement in fuel economy over today's conventional six-speed automatic transmissions. It will feature dry, dual clutch technology.
Despite being an entry-level powerplant, the compact and lightweight design will combine advanced features such as direct injection and turbocharging to boost performance. Combine this with the fuel efficient dual clutch transmission, and we could be seeing a new standard for ultra-high mileage vehicles. Expect to see fuel economy gains as high as 20 percent compared to engines and automatic transmissions in production today.
Work will be carried out by engineers in Detroit and at the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), an engineering and design joint venture established by the two automakers in Shanghai last year.