It's Not a Powertrain, It's a Propulsion System

22 February 2016 Dashboard Insights Blog

What’s in a name? To General Motors, a lot. So much so that GM will no longer deal in powertrains. Instead…wait for it…Global Propulsion Systems. Whoa. Here at the Dashboard we all just got very Buck Rodgers-y.

But, really, this is not much of a surprise. Powertrains have always been engines and transmissions. In the next few years, the percentage of GM vehicles (or any vehicles) powered by powertrains will shrink. As GM notes, in quoting itself in the form of Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, “Global Propulsion Systems better conveys what we are developing and offering to our customers: an incredibly broad, diverse lineup – ranging from high-tech 3-cylinder gasoline engines to fuel cells, V8 diesel engines to battery electric systems, and 6-, 7-, 8-, 9- and 10-speed to continuously variable transmissions.” With 50% of its Global Propulsion Systems engineering workforce geared toward non-powertrain propulsion, this move makes sense.

The simple reality is that powertrains are unlikely to be the future of the automotive industry. They won’t go away completely (at least, not for a while), but they certainly should see their share of the market reduced on an annual and continuous basis.

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