Even in light of tumbling truck sales and the disastrous economy, GM remains committed to get its 4.5-liter light-duty Duramax diesel to market.
GM remains the last truck maker with plans to produce a light-duty diesel. Chrysler has said that its Cummins-sourced light diesel won’t be available until at least 2011, while both Ford and Toyota shelved their plans for a light-duty diesel indefinitely.
A GM powertrain spokeswoman told PickupTrucks.com that GM is still going to produce the 4.5-liter diesel V-8 for use in its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra half-ton pickups. Even so, GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz is has his reservations on the timing. Lutz claims customers won’t opt for the diesel with gas prices down and diesel remaining higher than gasoline. He says that even with improved fuel economy, buyers won’t see a price advantage in buying the diesel.
The engine being fought over may be one of the most significant leaps in diesel engine design since Rudolf Diesel invented the engine. The engine exhaust exits into the V of the engine allowing the exhaust to spin the turbo more efficiently and quickly. This reduces exhaust back pressure and heat losses allowing the engine to run more efficiently. In addition to increasing fuel economy, this design also eliminates several expensive components, simplifying the engine and reducing the normal price premium seen on diesels when compared to gasoline counterparts.