In 2006, General Motors manufactured roughly 1.7 million small block V8 engines in North America. In 2011, that number fell to 1.15 million, the same year the 100 millionth small block crossed the line. What does this mean? Simply put: the automotive market and industry is slowly shaping into something new.
Yes, these numbers also relate to GM’s decline in market share from 23.9 percent to 19.2 percent in the same time frame, along with the overall decline of truck and SUV sales. But it also points to the fact that downsizing is working. Just look at GM’s 3.6L V6 engine. Or even smaller, its new 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec. These power-dense powertrains are slowly replacing where a larger displacement would otherwise be, as they are potent, capable, offer higher MPG appeal, but are also more complex.
Does it mean that we soon won’t see throaty V8 engines in GM vehicles? Not at all. But their glory days seem to have driven off into the horizon, leaving an impressive burnout trail along the way.