TURIN, Italy -- Fiat Auto and General Motors plan to expand production capacity of their 1.3-liter diesel engine by 45 percent, supplier sources say.
"This expansion won't be immediate," a source said. "It will take 18 months to complete."
Once finished, the plant will be able to produce 800,000 units annually.
GM and Fiat dissolved their 5-year-old joint powertrain venture this year.
But they continue to co-own the intellectual rights to the small diesel and continue to share the plant that assembles it in Bielsko Biala, Poland.
The diesel is used in several Fiat and GM small vehicles.
The 1.3-liter engine also will be used in both the new Fiat 500, which replaces the Seicento, and the Ford Ka replacement that Fiat will build in Tychy, Poland.
Suzuki uses the engine in three models sold in Europe.
Additionally, Suzuki's Indian subsidiary, Maruti Udyog Ltd., has started to build the engine under license at its New Delhi plant. That plant has an annual capacity of 100,000 units.
The 1.3-liter common-rail diesel debuted in February 2003. The engine produces 70 hp.
The Fiat Punto was the first car to use the engine. Fiat introduced an upgraded engine producing 75 hp in September at the Frankfurt auto show.
It also introduced a 90-hp version that uses a variable nozzle turbocharger.
You may e-mail Luca Ciferri at [email protected]