GM, Chrysler full-size pickups likely to get fuel-saving V-6s, too

Automotive News reports on GM and Chrysler moves to sell pick-up trucks with V-6 engines, after Ford set an example with its F-150.

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Ford's choice of direct-inject turbocharging for its EcoBoost V-6 is one strategy. General Motors has chosen other technologies to improve fuel economy and performance.

GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson says GM is focused on "continuous improvement" of the mainstream 5.3-liter V-8 in the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-sized pickups. The Silverado's 5.3-liter V-8 makes 315 hp and 335 pounds-feet of torque.

That engine competes most directly with Ford's EcoBoost in price and performance, he says.

GM's four-wheel-drive trucks match the combined EPA fuel economy rating of the EcoBoost 4wd F-150s. Rear-drive models are 1 mpg lower.

GM's recent changes to the engine include variable valve timing and displacement on demand. GM is expected to introduce a turbocharged V-6 on its next generation of full-size pickups, expected in 2013. It is considering other fuel-saving techniques for the redesigned trucks, too, such as eight-speed transmissions and significant weight reduction.

Chrysler Group sells mostly V-8s in its Ram 1500 half-ton pickup. But the Ram 1500 eventually will get Chrysler's new Pentastar V-6 engine, which likely will be teamed with a new eight-speed automatic transmission, probably in 2013.

Ford knows the competition will react. It has the advantage of being first to put direct-injection turbocharged V-6 technology in a pickup. But Mike Omotoso, senior manager of global power train at J.D. Power and Associates in suburban Detroit, notes that, because of rising federal fuel-economy requirements, "The heat is on Ford, and the heat is on for everyone."

(Source: Automotive News)

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