GM is expected to show a V16-powered concept vehicle at the 2003 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, company sources told The Car Connection (TCC) website.

The engine would essentially be two V-8 Northstar engines bolted together, TCC said, adding that a GM official had said the V16 would be “just for show” with no production plans.

However, TCC said, citing GM’s executive director of advanced powertrain engineering, Dr. Fritz Indra, there are plans to put a V12 into production, as early as 2005.

“Nothing is definite until it goes into production, but development is moving along as if it will,” Indra told TheCarConnection, suggesting that the V12 could find a home in the huge Cadillac Escalade and the Cunningham C7, a low-volume supercar being developed by a company partly owned by GM’s ‘product czar’ Bob Lutz.

Indra told TCC that “three or four remarkable features” from a prototype engine shown in the Cadillac Cien V12 concept would be used on a production engine.

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According to TCC, GM also said it would reduce the number of petrol engine ‘families’ made worldwide from 27 to 13 over the next few years, while diesel lines will be trimmed from seven to four and transmissions cur from 19 families to 16.

Powertrain chief Tom Stephens told TCC that GM will continue seeking partnerships such as an ongoing arrangement with Honda which sees the Japanese company buy some GM diesels as it gears up to supply GM with V6 petrol engines for future Saturn models.