GM responds: MAT’s Blackwing V-8 deal is up in the air for now

On Friday, we reported that GM’s supposedly Cadillac-exclusive, but unallocated 4.2-liter twin-turbo DOHC Blackwing V-8 would find a new home in Europe, where Manifattura Automobili Torino is planning to use the engine for a new, limited series production car that it is currently developing. MAT boss Paolo Garella revealed this to us in an interview back in February, when Garella indicated that MAT was all set to display its new concept, alongside the Blackwing V-8, at the Geneva Motor Show, which was later canceled. The display was planned with the knowledge of the Turin-based General Motors Propulsion Engineering Center.

Nevertheless, a few days after our chat at MAT, GM announced that it sold its last European stand to the Punch Group. This transaction appears to have had a pronounced effect on the Turin-based operation’s playing field; once our story went live, a General Motors representative emailed us with the following statement, casting doubt on the deal:

“The story regarding the 4.2L V-8 Blackwing engine is not accurate. We do not have an agreement in place with Manifattura Automobili Torino (MAT) to provide or sell the Blackwing engine. Furthermore, although MAT may be working with the Punch Group, we have not licensed this engine as part of the Turin Propulsion Engineering Center sale to Punch Group.

Our team is following up with MAT president Paolo Garella to discuss the misunderstanding. We are open to other options for the Blackwing engine in the future, but have nothing to announce at this time.”

Before the sale, it seems, handshake deals were in place with the relevant people in charge. Now, however, GM’s withdrawal from Europe is reshaping the business environment in a way that could ultimately overwrite MAT’s previous arrangements.

To clear the air, today, Manifattura Automobili Torino issued to us the following statement:

“We thank GM for the clarification. Although a signed agreement was not finalized between the parties, we were under the impression that our counterpart was committing to making this engine available to MAT at conditions yet to be defined. All the agreed joint commercial activities, such as the participation with the engine to the cancelled GIMS2020, were based on this assumption. Furthermore, we were not aware of the sale of the Turin Propulsion Engineering Center to Punch Group until the official announcement on February 27th.

We hope that this misunderstanding will not compromise our relations with GM and possible future collaborations.”

What remains certain is that MAT is currently developing a brand-new car that’s not connected to the New Stratos project. The question now is whether it could be powered by the Blackwing V-8 as planned, or if GM will keep its newest flagship engine on the shelf after fitting it to just 1475 CT6 Platinum and CT6-V sedans between 2019 and 2020. The latter outcome would be decidedly more disappointing.

engine part assembly charts on whiteboard
Nagy Attila Károly
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