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GM 3.0L Duramax diesel production halted, not discontinued

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Over the weekend reports surfaced the 3.0-liter Duramax diesel engine for General Motors was discontinued. It turns out that report was erroneous as GM has confirmed the engine is only temporarily halted in production due to a supply chain shortage.

“The 3.0-liter Duramax diesel is not being discontinued,” said Megan Soule, manager for Chevrolet trucks and full-size SUV communications. “We have currently paused production of trucks with that engine due to a temporary part shortage. We will resume production with the 3.0-liter Duramax diesel as soon as possible.”

The small diesel engine is available in several GM vehicles, including the Chevy Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Chevy Tahoe, Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.

This rumor initially seemed to make sense since small diesel engines seem to be falling out of favor as automakers are putting hybrid powertrains in pickups and SUVs now, along with adding electrification to some of their lines.

As we previously reported, Ford Motor Co. announced the discontinuation of its 3.0-liter Power Stroke engine as the Blue Oval goes full speed ahead with its PowerBoost F-150 and the upcoming all-electric F-150 Lightning.

Another reason, this didn’t seem too far-fetched: We’ve previously noted a design flaw with vehicles that have the engine and there is a known long-crank issue GM appears to be ignoring.

Are small diesel engines on their way out?

Because the 3.0-liter Duramax diesel was a more popular option for GM than the baby Power Stroke was for Ford, you can’t really say that because Ford got rid of their small diesel that GM will follow suit. With the EcoBoost and Ford’s new hybrid PowerBoost, the move made more sense for Ford at this time.

Dawn McKenzie, Ford Trucks Communications, confirmed as much to us.

“Our customers overwhelmingly order our EcoBoost V-6 gasoline engines,” she said. “For customers who need maximum towing torque, we now offer the F-150 PowerBoost as the ideal combination of capability, power and fuel efficiency, which wasn’t available when Power Stroke was introduced.”

The bottom line on the Duramax diesel

GM would be wise to continue the 3.0-liter Duramax for as long as it can — and for as long as there is demand. We speculated earlier this year that a hybrid powertrain wasn’t imminent for the Silverado. Therefore, the fuel economy and combined towing power of the small Duramax is an advantage for GM.

In fact, GM’s 3.0-liter I-6 turbo-diesel is the most fuel-efficient engine for the Silverado 1500. It has an EPA rating of 23 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway in 2WD and 22 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway in 4WD. Looking at the power equation, it delivers 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.

As truck and SUV consumers demand maximum performance, diesel engines — even smaller ones — still deliver that. Combine that with natural skepticism of hybrids and EVs amongst truck buyers, and GM should milk the smaller diesel for as long as it can, or at least until the electric Silverado debuts.

What do you think about the small diesel engine? What are the pros and cons in your mind? Leave your comments below.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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