GM trims 200 advanced r&d jobs in restructuring
DETROIT -- General Motors plans to cut nearly 200 employees who work on advanced r&d, part of a broader reorganization of its research operation.
A person with knowledge of the plans said GM will lay off about 100 of the roughly 400 workers at its advanced r&d unit housed in the sprawling Warren Technical Center in suburban Detroit, which employs some 16,000 workers in everything from engineering to design. The advanced r&d operation focuses on technologies such as fuel cell development and is a small component of the Warren complex.
Another 90 r&d people at a GM research facility in India will be let go, the source said. Most of GM's global r&d employees are based in Warren.
In a statement, GM confirmed the restructuring but would not confirm the number of layoffs. The r&d realignment is being led by longtime GM engineer Jon Lauckner, who took over the operation last month .
According to its 2011 annual report, GM spent $8.1 billion on r&d last year. The figure includes the company's global engineering expenses and essentially GM's entire product development budget, the spokesman said.
GM's advanced r&d operation represents only a small portion of that $8.1 billion figure, he said.
Lauckner replaced Tom Stephens, who retired as GM's chief technology officer. GM decided not to replace Alan Taub, former vice president of r&d , who worked under Stephens and retired last month. Lauckner has assumed Taub's duties.
"These moves will enable the organization to better focus on commercializing customer-focused innovation in a more efficient and cost effective manner," GM said in the statement.
Some of the changes are structural but don't involve job cuts, a GM spokesman said. For example, about 60 r&d employees who are developing fuel cell technologies at a facility in Honeoye Falls, N.Y., now will report to GM's powertrain division rather than its r&d division.
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