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GM execs say automaker is focused on success

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GM execs say automaker is focused on success

03:16 PM

General Motors is holding summer camp for Wall Street analysts, trying to wow them in advance of an initial public offering of GM shares that's on the horizon. No archery, swimming, hiking or bad camp food. Lots of presentations, though.

CEO Ed Whitacre Jr. is trying to paint GM as a good-news story. The company says it will unveil 70 new or significantly refreshed vehicles worldwide by 2014, expanding its presence in markets it considers key to growth.

The company is taking a look at what technology it has sitting around in research and development labs, and finding ways to get it into cars, says Steve Girsky, vice chairman of corporate strategy for GM. That means consumers are likely to see GM cars powered by diesel, compressed natural gas, hydrogen, as well as electric cars such as the Volt, Girsky says:

"We have to get this stuff off the shelf and into the market," Girsky says. The company spent about $750 million to accelerate research and development for these technologies, he says.

The overall emphasis of the summer camp is on how an overly complicated GM is becoming more sharply focused. The synopsis:

Reduced brands. "We're selling more vehicles today with four brands than we did a year ago with eight brands," Whitacre says.

Inventories are reduced. The average transaction price for new vehicle sales has increased. Factories are being run at a healthier 85% of capacity.

Going global. GM sees big global opportunity. Tim Lee and Jaime Ardila, presidents of GM International Operations and GM South America, respectively, emphasized the importance of building on growth outside the United States.

China outselling U.S. GM holds a 13% market share in China, a bigger market than the U.S. Chinese consumers will buy 16.5 million vehicles this year -- about the same size as the U.S. market at its zenith a few years ago -- up from 13.7 million last year.

Brazil investment. GM is currently the third-largest automaker in Brazil, which surpassed Germany in 2009 as the world's fourth-largest market. Last month, GM said it will invest more than $400 million in a family of three new cars designed for the Brazilian and other South American markets.



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