DETROIT – General Motors found that its customers are interested in more fuel-efficient vehicles, which is driving up demand for four-cylinder models. The automaker stated that in 2007, four-cylinder models only represented 23 percent of Chevrolet retail sales in the United States, less than the V-6 and V-8 models it sold. In 2011, Chevrolet stated that four-cylinder vehicles make up 46 percent.

“Chevrolet’s investment in advanced engine technology is reflected in the increased popularity of our four-cylinder models,” said Rick Scheidt, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet. “These technologies offer the performance and refinement drivers expect from Chevy in smaller engines that deliver the fuel efficiency they want.”

Customers are moving out of V-8 powered SUVs into V-6 powered crossovers such as the Traverse, and from V-6 powered cars and crossovers into fuel-efficient four-cylinder models, such as Cruze, Malibu, and Equinox, he said.

Although this represents retail rather than fleet vehicle sales, it shows GM prioritizing fuel efficiency and investing in technologies that boost fuel economy. It also shows customers responding to the new technologies the automaker is introducing in its four-cylinder models.

The company cited the following technologies it has developed to improve fuel economy: Turbocharging helps the Chevrolet Cruze Eco deliver 42 mpg highway; Variable Valve Timing helps the Chevrolet Malibu deliver 33 mpg highway; and Direct injection helps the Chevrolet Equinox reach 32 mpg highway.