$10.3 billion is waiting in the wings for the Volt if GM clears the hurdles

$10.3 billion is waiting in the wings for the Volt if GM clears the hurdles

General Motors has confirmed that the first batch of its upcoming Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrids will feature an internal combustion ‘back-up’ engine sourced from Aspern, Austria, and not from Flint, Michigan, as originally planned. The announcement comes just a week after it was revealed that GM’s contract to build a new engine plant in Flint to supply the necessary 1.4L four-cylinder units for the Volt had been canceled.

The decision to source the engines from overseas will not add any extra cost to the car’s eventual sticker price, which is expected to fall some around the $40,000 mark. The information comes from GM spokesperson Sharon Basel who told Ward’s Auto that GM is simply leveraging its global footprint and that there was nothing unusual about the decision.

Basel also stressed that Flint will remain the target for North American sourcing of the 1.4L engine, and that GM may consider using an existing plant instead of building something new.

The engine in question is a new 1.4L petrol unit from an engine group called the ‘Family 0’, which includes powerplants displacing between 1.0 and 1.4L. Family 0 engines first appeared as far back as 1997 and have been in production in Europe since then. A naturally-aspirated version of the 1.4L unit was destined for the Volt, while the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze was to use a more powerful turbocharged version.

The Austrian engines will be sent to the Volt assembly plant in Hamtramck, Michigan, and the Cruze facility in Lordstown, Ohio.

GM is still committed to investing $30 million to build a new battery plant in Michigan together with LG Chem. It hopes to build about 10,000 Volts in the first year of production, eventually ramping up to about 60,000 units per year.