To give its cars an advantage from a sales point of view, General Motors Co. may present continuously variable transmissions to offer improved fuel economy. Mike Arcamone, CEO of GM Daewoo Auto & Technology, said that GM currently doesn't use CVTs but that within three years, they could be used on models such as the Chevrolet Spark, Aveo and Cruze.
In addition, GM is studying the use of turbochargers on smaller engines. GM thinks that to win over drivers in the US to its latest batch of small cars, superior mileage is key. Earlier this year, GM launched the Cruze and it is now preparing for the arrival of the four-seat Spark in the first half of 2012.
Sohn Dongyoun, vice president of engineering at GM's global small- and minicar development team at GM Daewoo, said that GM has to improve the mileage on these models by at least 10% by the next full-model change.
He said that CVTs, which offer an easy, quick fix, were made available in three vehicles, the Saturn Ion coupe and Vue SUV and the Opel Astra small car, for three years but dropped the transmission at the end of the 2005 model year.
Arcamone asserts that US customers are ready for small cars such as the Spark but only if they offer eye-catching style and have updated content, particularly infotainment options.