When GM’s plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., recently built its 3 millionth Ecotec I4 engine, the advanced and efficient powerplant found its way beneath the hood of a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu—the Eco model, of course. It was the ideal way to celebrate an engine that currently powers not only the new Malibu, but also a wide range of other popular and fuel-efficient GM models, including the Chevy Equinox, Buick Regal, Buick Verano and GMC Terrain.
A Los Angeles Chevrolet Dealership told us that demand for these products has been so high that the General invested more than $55 million in the Spring Hill facility just to keep up.
All the fuss is easy to understand, too. Although the Malibu Eco’s eAssist system gets plenty of the credit—and deservedly so—according to Chevrolet Dealers MI, the car’s 2.4-liter Ecotec engine is just as important to its ability to achieve EPA ratings of 25 mpg city/37 mpg highway. And thanks to features like a lightweight aluminum block and cylinder head, direct injection, dual overhead cams, electronic throttle control, and continuously variable intake and exhaust timing, the engine delivers those fuel-economy marks while still providing a peppy 182 hp.
“The investment in the Spring Hill engine plant is allowing us to meet the growing needs of customers for high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles,” said GM Spring Hill Complex Manager Ken Knight. “Consumers and critics love these engines for their fuel efficiency and power. In 2010 and 2012, WardsAuto named the engines we manufacture one of the ‘10 Best Engines’ for North America.”
“GM’s investment in the engine plant recognizes the high quality that the UAW members build into each of these engines and has created or retained 93 hourly positions at GM Spring Hill,” added Mike Herron, UAW Local 1853 shop chairman. “This is great news for our community because not only is it helping to put more people back to work, but it’s helping to produce vehicles for American consumers wanting to achieve great gas mileage.”