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August 19, 2010

GM to build small engines & cars in China

CARS - General Motors has made a deal with the Chinese company SAIC to develop and design small fuel-efficient engines and transmissions with the goals of creating a mass production small car in China's ever expanding market.

Their goal is the development of a 1.0 litre to 1.5 litre direct-injection turbocharged gas engine. Its a smaller engine, but its designed to pack a wallop of power and torque.

China is the world's biggest auto market by the number of vehicles sold. American automakers are looking to break into the market but are hampered by China's rules that all companies operating within China must have a Chinese partner which owns 50%. Nevertheless China also offers tax cuts and subsidies which makes it worthwhile.

Highly dependent on oil from Middle East countries like Iraq, China is trying to reduce its dependence on foreign oil.

General Motors is also developing a front-wheel drive transmission which they hope will have 10% greater efficiency than an automatic transmission.

Ford meanwhile is also developing a small direct-injection turbocharged engine named "EcoBoost" which has 20% greater fuel efficiency.

Having these more efficient engines and transmissions will be compounded in cars which are smaller and/or more lightweight. ie. If the par efficiency is 100 units then reducing the weight by 30% will increase efficiency to 70 units, but if the engines/transmission are also 20% more efficient that reduces it to 56 units. The end result is a car which is almost twice as efficient when it comes to fuel.

The only lasting question then is how practical it is for transportation of you, your family and anything you are carrying.

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