GM marks engine milestone

GM marks engine milestone

Mr Villarreal with the four-cylinder Duramax turbo-diesel engine. GM has made its 500,000th such engine at its Rayong plant.
Mr Villarreal with the four-cylinder Duramax turbo-diesel engine. GM has made its 500,000th such engine at its Rayong plant.

US car maker General Motors has announced production of its 500,000th Duramax diesel engine at its facility in Rayong.

This facility is operated by GM Powertrain Thailand, the first diesel engine plant in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

Production for the four-cylinder diesel engine started in September 2011 and shipped to overseas markets in July 2014. The site is also the first GM plant in the world to produce such a diesel engine.

Hector Villarreal, president of GM Southeast Asia, said all engines produced were fitted to Chevrolet Colorados and Trailblazers, assembled at GM's facility in Thailand.

Over 20% of Duramax engines produced locally were exported to international markets last year. The engine production for the period totalled 80,000 of the 2.5-litre and 2.8-litre Duramax engines.

"The Duramax engines are one of the most important components that we manufacture in Rayong for both domestic and export markets," Mr Villarreal said.

Both the 2.5-litre and 2.8-litre Duramax engines used in the Chevrolet Colorado and Trailblazer are two of the most advanced diesel powertrains in the market.

Both engines are capable of up to Euro 5 standard.

Amnat Saengjan, vice-president for manufacturing at GM Thailand, said team members in the Rayong facility worked together to reach the 500,000th engine milestone.

It speaks to the growing popularity of vehicles that use the Duramax engine.

"Powertrain production in Thailand is needed to keep this momentum in the future," Mr Amnat said.

GM entered Thailand in January 2000, later establishing two manufacturing facilities at Rayong's WHA Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate -- a vehicle assembly plant with annual production capacity of 180,000 units and a powertrain plant with annual capacity of 120,000 units -- with a combined investment of US$1.4 billion.

GM has 1,900 employees in the country.

The two facilities are in charge of exports across Southeast Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, and North and Central America.

For vehicles, the plants have built roughly 1.36 million units under the Chevrolet and Holden nameplates.

The Rayong plant is part of GM's 142 manufacturing and non-manufacturing landfill-free facilities globally.

Chevrolet Sales Thailand is GM's local arm in charge of sales. It posted sales for the first half of the year of 8,384 cars, down 8.2% year-on-year, largely consisting of Colorado and Trailblazer.

Chevrolet plans to launch the new Captiva sport utility vehicle in September.

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