In November, we reported word from our sources that GM is working on a large displacement (about 7 liters) direct injection gasoline engine for its workhorse Heavy Duty pickup trucks as an alternative to pricey diesel engines. It would also compete against new engines from Ford and Chrysler. Ford will start selling its new 6.2-liter V-8 for the Super Duty in the spring, and Ram trucks will have a new 6.4-liter gas V-8 by 2012.
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we had a brief conversation with Tom Stephens, GM’s vice chairman in charge of global product operations. Before his current position, Stephens was executive vice president of GM global powertrain.
“I think our current 6.0-liter V-8 is a good engine,” Stephens said. “We used to have an 8.1-liter V-8, but its take rate was low so we discontinued it [after 2006]. If there’s a business case for a more powerful gas engine (than the 6.0-liter) in our heavy-duty pickups, we could do that very quickly.”