Fiat and General Motors plan to expand production capacity of their 1.3-litre diesel engine by 45%, supplier sources have told Automotive News Europe.

“This expansion won’t be immediate,” a source said. “It will take 18 months to complete.”

Once finished, the plant will be able to produce 800,000 units annually.

GM and Fiat dissolved their five-year-old joint powertrain venture earlier this year. But they continue to co-own the intellectual rights to the small diesel and continue to share the Bielsko Biala, Poland, plant that assembles it.

The diesel is used in several Fiat and GM small vehicles. The 1.3-litre engine also will be used in both the new Fiat 500 and the Ford Ka replacement that Fiat will build in Tychy, Poland.

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Suzuki uses the engine in three models sold in Europe. Additionally, Suzuki’s Indian subsidiary, Maruti Udyog, is just beginning to build the engine under licence at its New Delhi plant. That plant has an annual capacity of 100,000 units.

The 1.3-litre common-rail diesel debuted in February 2003, producing 70hp. The Fiat Punto was the first car to use the engine. Fiat introduced an upgraded engine producing 75hp in September at the IAA in Frankfurt.

It also introduced a 90hp version that uses a variable nozzle turbocharger.