GM Cost Cuts Ahead of Schedule

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General Motors Corp. said Thursday that it exceeded its 2006 goal for North American structural cost cuts by a third -- slashing $9 billion in expenses at an annual rate by the end of the year.

The world's largest automaker previously had said that it wanted to achieve $6 billion in structural cost reductions at an annual rate, also known as a running-rate basis, by the end of the year.

General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said the reductions were achieved through heath care, productivity and capacity cuts.

"We expect to reflect at least $6 billion of these savings in our 2006 financials, and then realize the full $9 billion savings in 2007," Wagoner said in a presentation to analysts in Dearborn, Mich.

"This represents a major first step in achieving our aggressive global target of reducing structural costs to 25 percent of revenue by 2010," he said.

Wagoner said GM cut its global automotive structural costs to between 29 and 30 percent of global revenue in 2006 from 34 percent of revenue in 2005, and expects to post further improvements in 2007.