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GM Will Halve Its Platform, Engine Count

Saving could top $1 billion annually.

by on Aug.10, 2011

New GM car czar Mary Barra.

General Motors plans to slash by half the number of underlying platforms it uses worldwide by 2018, while ordering a similar reduction in the number of engine variants in its line-up, the maker says.

It’s all part of an effort to reduce costs by as much as $1 billion annually, according to GM CEO Dan Akerson, who says the maker wastes far much time, effort – and money – on projects that either get canceled or which could share their basics with other GM programs.

“We’d be deep — halfway, two-thirds of the way through – on a project and we’d cancel it due to a weakening economy,” said the former Navy officer, who took the helm at GM early last year.  “The start-stop, on-again-off-again, herky-jerky nature of our product development process was very disruptive and it produced poor results.”

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Indeed, it has meant that many vehicles come out late and then don’t live up to customer expectations, added GM’s new product development czar Mary Barra.

“We end up being second, third, or at the back of the pack,” she said.

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