GM’s Tonawanda site to get big upgrade for Ecotec engine

GM’s Tonawanda site to get big upgrade for Ecotec engine


Matthew Daneman • Staff writer • February 13, 2010


General Motors’ Tonawanda engine plant in Erie County is about to get a massive upgrade to allow it to produce the next generation of its four-cylinder Ecotec engine.

Variations of the Ecotec have been used in Saturn, Saab, Oldsmobile and Opel vehicles. And the Tonawanda plant makes a version of the Ecotec used in some Chevrolet and Pontiac vehicles.

Word of the upgrade came Friday from the office of U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, who said GM plans to invest "hundreds of millions of dollars" in the Tonawanda plant for Ecotec production.

GM spokeswoman Nina Price said there would be an announcement made about the plant next week but declined to give any details.


The plant employs about 600 hourly workers. It stopped producing V-8 engines late last year.

GM’s research-and-development facility for fuel cell engines is in Honeoye Falls. The company has been pursuing a strategy that includes several elements: improving the traditional internal combustion engine; developing products such as alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles; and, eventually, producing fuel cell vehicles.

The battery-powered Chevy Volt is scheduled to be unveiled late this year. GM tentatively hopes to have fuel cell vehicles at dealerships in 2015.

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