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DETROIT — General Motors announced plans this week to make more investments as a response to customer demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles.

This latest undertaking focuses on retooling five North American plants to produce a new generation of fuel efficient, small block truck and car engines. The automaker said it will invest more than $890 million that will create or retain more than 1,600 jobs.

GM explained the investments include facility renovation and installation of new, highly flexible engine machining and assembly equipment and special tooling designed for manufacturing efficiency and engine quality.

At the casting facilities, the company indicated the resources are for expansion of semi-permanent mold and precision sand casting technologies. OEM officials believe the result is a high degree of dimensional accuracy and material strength properties needed to support the newer, more efficient engines in GM's product portfolio.

GM engineers contend their next generation small block engine family will have unprecedented fuel efficiency. They noted it's achieved through direct injection and an all-new advanced combustion system design.

The automaker further mentioned the new engine family will rely exclusively on aluminum engine blocks. It pointed out how these blocks are meant to be lighter and contribute to the improved fuel efficiency.

Moreover in addition to being E85 ethanol capable, GM emphasized that these engines are being designed with the capability to meet increasingly stringent criteria emissions standards expected throughout this decade.

GM noted that more specifics about the engine capabilities as well as product applications will be shared at a later date.

What the automaker did share was a specific breakdown of where its latest investment is going.

Plants to support the engine production:

—Tonawanda, N.Y.: an investment of $400 million resulting in more than 710 jobs.

—St. Catharines, Ontario: an investment of $235 million resulting in approximately 400 jobs.

Plants to support engine casting and component production:

—Defiance, Ohio: an investment of $115 million resulting in up to 189 jobs.

—Bedford, Ind.: an investment of $111 million resulting in about 245 jobs.

—Bay City, Mich.: an investment of $32 million resulting in over 80 jobs.

"GM is investing in our plants, restoring and creating jobs and making progress toward our vision of designing, building and selling the world's best vehicles," stated Mark Reuss, president of GM North America.

"These latest investments show our commitment to improving fuel economy for buyers of every GM car, truck and crossover and giving them the best possible driving and ownership experience," Reuss added.

Since last July, GM pointed out that it has invested more than $2.3 billion at 22 facilities in the United States and Canada, restoring or creating more than 9,100 jobs.