9 September 1998
General Motors Corporation and Isuzu Motors Ltd. unveiled plans to build diesel engines for light trucks at a new $320 million, 650,000 square-foot plant to be located in Moraine, OH. The new facility would employ about 700 people and build direct-injection diesel engines for GM light trucks such as the Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup truck.
GM Chairman Jack Smith and Isuzu Chairman Kazuhira Seki were both to attend a dedication ceremony on Wednesday for the new plant, to be located outside of Dayton, OH.
The new venture will be called DMAX Ltd. and will be owned 60% by Isuzu and 40% by GM. Isuzu will handle design and engineering, with GM handling finance, public relations and support activities.
The plant will build a 6.6 liter direct injection, common rail, V-8 diesel engines. Production is expected to start in the third quarter of the year 2000. The expected initial volume is 100,000 engines annually, growing to 200,000 by 2004.
The plant will replace an existing diesel engine facility in Moraine that builds 6.5-litre engines. The 500 workers at that plant, which will be closed, will move to the new facility.
GM said the plant will be the most modern diesel engine facility in North America, making engines that are 30% more fuel efficient than typical gasoline engines. The penetration of diesel engines in the light vehicle market in the United States is about 2%, dramatically less than the European level of 25%. That proportion could change if the federal government forces automakers to improve their corporate average fuel economy levels.
GM said last October the Japanese engine and truck maker would eventually be responsible for all of GM's diesel engines. GM owns 37.5% of Isuzu and has other ventures with the company in the United States. GM builds the Isuzu Hombre compact pickup truck at its plant in Shreveport, LA, as well as light- and medium-duty trucks at its facility in Janesville, WI.