No matter how you slice it, General Motors simply doesn’t have the best branding for its internal combustion petrol engines. “Duramax” – GM’s brand name for its lineup of diesel truck engines – is just fine, mind you. It communicates what it ought to about the engine’s durability and performance, and it sounds a good deal better than Ford’s “Power Stroke”, which seems like it might be a rather unpleasant medical event.
But we’re talking about GM’s most interesting/appealing/exciting petrol engines, like the 6.2-liter V8 small-block LT1 engine (below) in Chevrolet’s Corvette and Camaro SS. Along with its supercharged derivatives in the Corvette ZR1 and Corvette Z06/Camaro ZL1, it’s arguably the most desirable of all current factory GM engines, but what does it have for branding? “LT1” (or “LT4”, “LT5”, depending on the level of supercharging).
Meanwhile, Ford’s V8 in the Mustang is called “Coyote”, and Fiat Chrysler has easily the most iconic, well-known petrol V8 brand of them all: “Hemi”. The automaker knows it, playing up the fact that a given Dodge or Ram product is powered by the stalwart iron-block motor with exterior “Hemi” badges that identify what’s under the hood. A great number of motorists likely don’t even know what a “Hemi” is (any engine design with hemispherical combustion chambers), but they know it has a reputation for power and performance.
Ford doesn’t advertise the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 so brazenly, but the automaker does place “EcoBoost” badges on certain models powered by any one of its many modern, direct-injected, turbocharged petrol engines. True, the “eco” portion of the moniker acts as sort of a semantic wet blanket, but it’s made up for with “boost” – one of the most fun words in the English language. It helps that at least some number of performance enthusiasts got acquainted with the name in the context of racing in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.
GM engines are some of the best in the business, delivering an ideal blend of efficiency and performance without being especially finicky or price-prohibitive. It’s time the automaker had the branding to suit.
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