We all know carmakers are downsizing their engines and embracing efficient technologies, but one company is going further than just offering a few hybrid models in their lineup to please the greenies. Anonymous sources at Volvo have confirmed that in the near future, the Swedish carmaker will exclusively use four-cylinder engines - a bold move that few others are willing to take.

This means no more five, six or eight-cylinder engines at Volvo, although company sources are claiming that their new four-cylinder models will be just as powerful as older models with a greater number of cylinders.

The move makes sense at this point in time, with future EU regulations bringing the allowable emissions levels down to averages of just 120g/km by 2015, and a long term goal of reaching 95g/km by 2020. Adapting early to these regulations will save Volvo time and money, and allow it to concentrate on other aspects of product development in the future.

Volvo's move to four-cylinder engines will mean that the company will employ a range of technologies to keep their engines powerful but small. This includes turbocharging, direct injection and other technologies. The anonymous source also revealed to Auto Motor and Sport that while all of Volvo's engines will be four-cylinders, they will vary in their capacity.

Thanks to a loan from the European Investment Bank of around $600 million, work on the next-generation range of four-cylinder engines has already begun. In fact, the first engine to come out of the new program will be a 1.6L diesel unit, set to replace the PSA Peugeot-Citroen engines used today. However, it’s unlikely to appear in any models until the 2011 model year.

Additionally, Volvo's first hybrids vehicles will soon be ready for display over the next couple of years, and the company's shift to small, economical engines should prove to be a hit with customers still reeling from recent gas price hikes.