General Motors Co plans to cut the number of vehicle platforms on which it makes cars and trucks by more than half by 2018, the company said.
GM’s global production chief Mary Barra told analysts at the GM Global Business Conference in Detroit that cutting the number of platforms will trim costs and increase the quality of the company’s vehicles.In 2010, GM built on 30 platforms, or architectures- the underpinnings of each vehicle that often remain the same through several model lines. And 31 per cent of GM’s vehicles in 2010 were built on “core” platforms, Barra said.
By 2018, the number of platforms will be cut to 14, and 90 per cent of GM vehicles will be built on “core” platforms, said Barra.Having 90 per cent of GM vehicles built on “core” platforms, “Allows us to have a much more efficient investment in each of these vehicles, and it also delivers higher quality, faster-to-market” cars and trucks, said Barra.Building on global platforms in order to cut costs and share common parts is a strategy used in greater frequency by all automakers. GM’s cross-town rival Ford Motor Co has been successful using this strategy on launches of compact and subcompact cars in the past year.
Diana Tremblay, GM’s global manufacturing chief, said that the company will get 80 per cent of its additional production (production above current levels) through 2015 from low-cost, developing countries such as China, India and Russia.
Tremblay said GM “is not ignoring” developed, higher-cost countries such as the United States, Western Europe and Australia for production.For instance, Tremblay said, GM earlier this year announced that it would spend $5.5 billion over two years to upgrade production plants in North America. She said GM has, without adding another plant, the ability to meet a US auto market of 16 million in annual sales, a level not seen since 2007.
“We sized ourselves in order to meet demand if the market goes back, when the market goes back, to 16 million” in annual US auto sales, Tremblay said.
GM Chief Executive Dan Akerson on Tuesday reiterated the company’s expectation that US auto sales will finish 2011 near 13 million vehicles.
From / Gulf Today