Earlier this month GM revealed production plans for a new family of compact four-cylinder engines to be manufactured in the U.S. and power a new generation of small and medium sized cars. The engine lineup will displace between 1.0 and 1.4L and will be manufactured at a plant in Flint, Michigan, from 2010 onwards.

The new engine range will be called Family Zero and will include the new powerplant for the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid as well as the engine for GM’s new global compact car destined to replace the Chevrolet Cobalt in North America. There will also be three-cylinder versions of the Family Zero engine displacing less than 1.0L and likely to appear in a production version of the Chevrolet Beat concept as well as a new subcompact car designed for the Chinese market.

While the Volt concept featured a 1.0L engine designed to charge its lithium-ion batteries, the production version will get a larger capacity 1.4L unit that will also act as a backup powertrain to drive the car instead of solely charging the batteries, reports MotorTrend.

The Chevrolet Volt, new global compact car and next-generation Aveo all are set to begin production in 2010 as 2011 models. The Volt and Cobalt replacement will be made on the new global Delta compact platform, while the new Aveo model will be based on an updated Gamma platform being developed by engineers in South Korea and Germany.