GM has small engines ready, waiting for customer demand

The automobile industry – and especially the players in the U.S. market – have long been engaged in an all-out battle for more power and performance. The 2008 fuel crunch has shaken that strategy up somewhat, but General Motors says it still needs a signal from buyers that they are willing to accept smaller displacements and equal or less power before it can implement its available small engines.

While that may seem like backward thinking given the evidence of GM’s plummeting sales while companies like Honda and Hyundai that focus on smaller-displacement, economical cars hold steady or even grow, it’s the way the General and its Detroit compatriots have worked for decades. The problem may also lie in GM’s current product lineup – customers interested in buying large SUVs and sedans don’t want turbocharged four-cylinders powering them, it appears. Shifting output to smaller cars will make the smaller engines more desirable.

Nevertheless, Thomas G. Stephens, GM’s executive vice president, insists the company is ready to move forward with smaller engines, reports Auto Observer, and is waiting only on customer demand, saying of a vehicle like a turbo four-cylinder Cadillac CTS or similar-sized car, «[f]rom a technical point of view, we could do it today.»

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