Don't count out the V-8 as a powerplant for the future.
Many contend that only fewer cylinders will help automakers meet new federal fuel economy and emissions rules. But some manufacturers have doubled down on their bets that the V-8 engine will stay in the game.
In late April, General Motors Co. announced it was spending $893 million to upgrade North American factories to make new all-aluminum V-8s.
Dean Guard, GM's chief engineer and program manager for small-block V-8 engines, says the investment "speaks volumes on the fact that General Motors believes for the foreseeable future that the V-8s play a critical role in our gasoline engine lineup."
Guard said truck buyers in particular need the power and endurance of a V-8 to do the things trucks are meant to do, such as towing or hauling heavy cargo.
GM uses cylinder deactivation, which it calls Active Fuel Management, to improve V-8 efficiency by firing only four cylinders when engines are under light loads. The company also is using direct fuel injection, camshaft phasing and transmission advances to increase fuel efficiency in V-8s.