Thursday, 22 October 2015

GM readies for Cadillac CT6

General Motors is to double its workforce at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly by adding a second shift and more than 1,200 hourly and salaried jobs.
This is ahead of plans to launch production of Cadillac CT6s in early 2016.

The plant currently builds the Chevrolet Volt, Impala and Malibu; and Cadillac ELR on a single production line. Second shift hiring is underway, and the shift is scheduled to begin operations in early 2016.

The addition of a second shift will increase the plant’s workforce to approximately 2,800 people when hiring is complete. The second shift is necessary to meet forecasted market demand for the five cars produced at Detroit-Hamtramck.

“This is the result of the award-winning vehicles Detroit-Hamtramck produces and the confidence GM has in our team to build world-class quality for our customers,” according to plant manager Gary West.

“The workforce at Detroit-Hamtramck is second to none,” said UAW Local 22 shop chairman Don LaForest. “We appreciate the opportunity to expand our UAW-GM family.”

The 4.1 million-square-foot Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly opened in 1985. GM has invested $1 billion in the plant over the last six years. GM claims the investment has made it “one of the company’s most-agile manufacturing facilities” in North America.

Meanwhile, GM announced third quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) adjusted of $3.1 billion and EBIT-adjusted margin of 8.0 per centThe company says these “were both records for any quarter”. These compare to EBIT-adjusted of $2.3 billion and an EBIT-adjusted margin of 5.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2014.

“These results reflect our work to capitalize on our strengths in the U.S. and China, while taking decisive, proactive steps to mitigate challenges elsewhere," said GM chief executive officer Mary Barra. “GM is a vastly different company today than just five years ago. We’re building a strong foundation, driving earnings growth in our core business and executing a plan to lead the future of personal mobility, all with the aim of creating shareholder value for years to come.”

Net revenue during the quarter was $38.8 billion compared to $39.3 billion in the third quarter of 2014. The change in net revenue is more than attributed to a negative net foreign currency exchange impact. Holding exchange rates constant, net revenue was $2.3 billion higher than the third quarter of 2014.

                                  Time for a new Duramax?

On another front entirely, industry observers are waiting for news of a different kind from GM. What shape or form will the next generation of Duramax take when it is launched? Some expect it to appear in 2017 model year.

Some even expect roll-out of the new, improved 2017 Duramax, which will power the next generation of GM light to medium-duty trucks, to come very soon.

The latest 6.6-litre, turbocharged Duramax engine is reaching the end of the production line with the last ones being built for GM’s 2016 model year. GM’s 2017 truck line will feature the next generation, 2017 Duramax power plants.

Since its introduction in the 2001 model year, Duramax has developed a loyal following among diesel performance fans; over 1 million Duramax-equipped trucks are on the road. It has become one of GM’s most valuable workhorses, powering most heavy-duty versions of the Silverado and Sierra pickups.

But times are changing. New, competitive engine families have appeared and GM could be caught napping, if it has not already happened.

Fueling speculation is the news that GM and its Duramax partner Isuzu have invested in a $60 million upgrade of the plant in Moraine, Ohio where the 6.6-litre diesel engines are produced. The retooling was needed to manufacture more efficient Duramax engines equipped to meet more stringent EPA emission requirements, for the foreseeable future.

Also, GM has indicated that it will probably expand the Duramax family of Chevrolet and GMC truck engines from the current one, to two or three iterations.

The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups are set to receive a 2.8 litre, four-cylinder Duramax turbo-diesel imported from the plant in Rayong, Thailand which produces them for Chevrolet Colorado trucks for worldwide markets.

The real focus of anticipation is of course the long-awaited newcomer, the elephant in the room. This is the 4.5 litre Duramax V8 engine with its ground-breaking – for GM – compacted graphite iron (CGI) vee-cylinder block. The engine was a year away from production when the programme was shuttered due to GM’s recession-related, financial woes.

While the 4.5-litre Duramax was originally slated for production at GM’s engine plant in Tonawanda, N.Y., GM has indicated it could go into production at one of its other facilities.

In the meantime, GM engineers have been kicking themselves like mad; they have seen Ford roar away into the distance with its 6.7-litre V8 PowerStroke engine. Ford also has a 4.4-litre V8 – both of these engines use CGI vee-blocks.

Notwithstanding that, Cummins has at last surfaced with its own CGI-based V8, the ISV5.0 which has found at least one customer in the Nissan Titan. Toyota could be another.

Fortunately, the skirmishing at Volkswagen AG at Wolfsburg vis-à-vis the ‘defeat device’ scandal, has left the German company’s V6 and V8 diesel engines with their CGI vee-blocks unscathed, as cars fitted with these engines are not affected by any recall.

How much torque will the new Duramax develop? Some sources reckon it will have to be pitched at 990 if it has to have any chance of competing Dodge and Ford power plants rated in the 860-865 category. Time will tell.

1 comment:

Willy Persson said...

Now GM will invest further 82 million US dollars and hire 150 new workers at the Moraine plant. This includes metallurists.

Smells CGI if you ask me. If they have a clear intention to catch up with ther other actors it can´t be done without CGI in the block and steel pistons. The rise in torque must be more than 100 lb/ft.