GM Outlines Areas Of Focus For The Future


General Motors CEO Mary Barra and GM Executive Vice President Mark Reuss

General Motors CEO Mary Barra and GM Executive Vice President Mark Reuss

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General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] will make emerging personal mobility technology an integral part of its future strategy.

CEO Mary Barra and GM Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain Mark Reuss delivered the outline of the company's plan to members of the media at the iconic Milford Proving Grounds earlier today.

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In July, GM revealed that 16 acres of the Proving Grounds is now reserved for autonomous car testing. And the latest announcement detailed that employees at the Warren Technical Center will soon have access to autonomous 2017 Chevy Volts to move about the facility, and those cars will be booked using a proprietary car-sharing app.

In early 2016, aspects of the car-sharing program—utilizing traditional human-driven vehicles—will expand to New York city, and will feature the ability to share rides with other users going to destinations in the same general areas. The company also confirmed that its "Super Cruise" autonomous driving technology will appear on the 2017 Cadillac CT6.

In addition, GM will focus on using lightweight materials to ensure that future vehicles will require less fuel. That plan appears to already be taking effect, as GM cited the weight reduction achieved in the forthcoming Chevrolet Malibu and Camaro, which achieve savings of 300 and 400 pounds, respectively.

It was also revealed that a joint project with Honda should yield a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicle around 2020.

The most outside-the-box aspect of the presentation might have been the unveiling of a General Motors e-bike, which would marry traditional human propulsion with an electric motor to ease starts and hill climbing. No pictures or specs regarding the assisted bicycle were available on the media site, and it's worth noting many cycling companies currently have similar products available today.

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Of course, vehicle sales will continue to be the company's dominant revenue stream, and more focus will be put on refining existing vehicles and increasing product development. GM says that 26 percent of its sales in 2015 have come from vehicles that were all new or significantly updated in the last 18 months. The goal is to increase that to 40 percent by 2019 and 2020.

Two brands in particular were mentioned. GM says that it is making a $5 billion investment in an all-new "growth market vehicle family" over the next five years, and that Cadillac will expand into growing luxury segments. Finally, the company expects to offset its costs by pursuing cost purchasing, manufacturing, and administration efficiencies that will yield $5.5 billion in savings between 2015 and 2018.       

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