Chevrolet and GMC were virtual non-entities in the diesel truck segment in the 1990s, with a dated, underpowered engine design that only became less competitive with the successive upgrades given to the Cummins diesel in the Dodge Ram and the Navistar-designed Ford Power Stroke diesels. Tired of getting sand kicked in its face by the crosstown bullies, General Motors teamed up with Isuzu in the late '90s to develop the Duramax V-8 diesel. At the time, the engine was a revolutionary design with aluminum four-valve heads. Although its output of 300 hp and 520 lb-ft seems tame by today's standards, it was a game-changer for the segment in the early 2000s.
With well over 1 million Duramax-powered trucks on the road, and a popularly tuned engine among diesel performance enthusiasts, the joint-venture between GM and Isuzu is still going strong, and the plant in Moraine, Ohio, that makes the 6.6-liter engines just received a $60 million investment to aid in the development of next-generation diesel engines that will need to meet ever-stricter emissions requirements.
Although the Duramax family of engines currently consists of just one powerplant in Chevrolet and GMC showrooms, it could soon expand to two or even three. The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will receive a 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel carrying the "Duramax" label, although the engines will be imported from Rayong, Thailand, where they're also built for global-market Colorado trucks. There's also the essentially finished 4.5-liter Duramax V-8 engine that was within a year of going into production before GM's financial problems kept that engine from making it to market. The 4.5 was originally scheduled to be built at GM's Tonawanda, New York, engine plant, but could be put into production at a different facility.
Source: General Motors