GM reorganizes, trims r&d unit
DETROIT -- General Motors is reorganizing and cutting back its r&d operation.
As part of the changes, it plans to cut about 100 r&d jobs at the Warren Technical Center in suburban Detroit and 90 more r&d jobs in India, said a source familiar with the cuts who spoke on condition of anonymity.
GM declined to say precisely how many total r&d employees it has. But it said the vast majority of the r&d staff works in Warren.
The 100 layoffs in Warren bring the r&d staff there down to about 300, the source said.
GM's r&d division focuses on advanced technologies, such as fuel cell development, and occupies only a fraction of the sprawling Warren center, which employs about 16,000 workers in design, engineering and other areas.
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.
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.
GM said its smaller r&d work force will focus on technologies that stand a good chance of being used on future cars and light trucks, rather than simply patenting innovations that will never see the light of day.
"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.
GM spent $8.1 billion on r&d last year. But that includes global engineering expenses and essentially includes GM's entire product-development budget, the spokesman said. GM's core r&d operation represents only a small portion of that $8.1 billion figure, he said.
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