Mike Stevens | Oct 13, 2011

General Motors has revealed more details on its upcoming small petrol engine architecture, with production set to begin by the middle of this decade.

The new petrol engines, which are being developed in partnership with Shanghai Auto as part of the GM's green-focused Ecotec range, will include a number of small-displacement three- and four-cylinder units.

Engine capacities will vary from 1.0 to 1.5 litres, with each utilising the latest direct-injection and turbocharging technology.

Promising "improved fuel economy, higher quality and better performance," the American carmaker aims to build up to two million of the new engines each year, in various of its global engine plants.

The announcement follows moves from other carmakers in recent years to downsize engines while expanding the use direct-injection and turbocharging systems, including Ford's EcoBoost programme and similar technologies from Hyundai.

For GM, the bigger picture will include halving the overall number of engine platforms it produces, from 20 in 2009 to 10 by 2018. The new small engine family alone will replace three of the brand's existing petrol engine lines.

GM expects the overhauled approach to development and production will save the company around $1 billion, each year, in what it calls 'churn' - cancelled, changed or relocated projects.

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