The future is bright for diesel pickup trucks
General Motors officials on Friday morning announced a plan to invest $920 million to expand the DMAX facility in Brookville, Ohio, reports Dayton Daily News.
The news of the investment sends a message that Duramax-powered medium and heavy-duty vehicles remain a substantial part of the automaker’s future.
“This is huge!,” says Gale Banks, who toured the Brookville plant shortly after its christening (shown above posing with LokJaw, Banks supercharged Duramax-powered 1966 Chevy pickup). “Diesel engines are for work vehicles. If you’re going to work a vehicle, battery electric is far from ready for this task. Today’s heavy-duty EV pickups are for early adopter fanboys. It’s going to take the next generation in battery technology and it’s simply not here yet. It’s a long way away. It’s not ready for primetime. If you are going to build a plant to make the next generation of Duramax diesel engines that is four times larger than the existing one, that’s quite a commitment to the diesel pickup market opportunity. GM did their homework, and this plant expansion is the result. You don’t spend a billion dollars if you don’t think there’s a bright future for diesel engines. This announcement is incredibly meaningful.”
“The new plant will be home to more than 800 workers,” says Mike Trevorrow, vice president, GM North America manufacturing. Trevorrow said construction should start immediately, and they are “already starting to move dirt.” The Brookville plant, which is a key producer for GM’s Duramax diesel for the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado heavy-duty trucks, currently covers about 250,000 square feet. About 1.1 million square feet will be added to that.
Strong demand for Chevrolet and GMC heavy and medium-duty pickups forced GM to find a way to make more Duramax diesel engines. In 2021, GM opened its Brookville DMAX plant, an operation initially meant to complement the work in Moraine.
Since 1998, DMAX has been a 60-40 joint venture of GM and Isuzu, with GM being the majority owner, explains Dayton Daily News’ Thomas Gnau. The original DMAX plant in Moraine built more than 3 million heavy-duty engines since its introduction in 2000. Isuzu quietly ended its role in the joint venture last year in financial filings. DMAX is wholly owned by GM today. The Duramax L5P, which debuted in 2017, was completely redesigned by GM.