I did quite a bit of research before buying my truck, the older VM engines our motor is an updated version of were known to be quite reliable in the Holdens sold in Australia. They had some niggly issues, but nothing catastrophic like this, and generally seem to have a good reputation for longevity. Same story as the others in your case too, piston/wrist pin failure. GDE has been quiet on the specific results of their metallurgical analysis on similarly failed parts that they examined. It makes me wonder about GM sourcing engine parts out of Thailand, and the potential QC problems that may be causing. This is just stupid. Never before ever gave a thought to pistons and rods fragging in a modern engine. This **** simply should not ever happen.
The earlier VM engines were manufactured in Italy. The design is mostly the same, but the parts sourcing is different. Rod and piston kit anyone? I wonder of the OE VM parts for the older engines would fit in our trucks.
The way the wrist pin failures are showing up on the 2.8L, does not seem to an upgrade from the VM Motori engine in the Holden, since they seemed to be pretty reliable over the years.
GM has been building the 2.8L XLD in Thailand since ~2011, that is the engine used in the Holden starting with MY2012. The LWN is an "updated" version of that for the North American market, it's also built in Thailand like the XLD. The XLD wasn't/isn't built by VMM in Italy.
So, there's no reason to think this has anything to do with parts or the engine being from Thailand.