DETROIT (Reuters) -- General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner said on Tuesday that the struggling automaker will be more "judicious" in 2006 in offering dealers generous sales incentives that boosted 2005 car sales.
Speaking to reporters on the floor of the North American International Auto Show here, Wagoner also said the decisions about changing GM's annual dividend were up to the company's board, not himself. "I have one vote," he said.
Wagoner had been asked about speculation in financial markets that Jerry York, top aide to GM's largest individual shareholder Kirk Kerkorian, would call for a halving of GM's dividend in a speech to auto industry executives and analysts later on Tuesday in Detroit.
"I have had regular conversations with Kirk, not this year, and with Jerry," Wagoner said. "I think they're very well informed on what our strategies are, as other key investors are.
"And it's my sense that there's a lot of agreement on strategies. If anyone says can we go faster to get this business turned around, I say 'Amen.'. That's what we're working on every day," Wagoner said.
Asked about GM's 2006 sales strategies and the aggressive discounts last year that offered car buyers "employee pricing" at retail outlets, Wagoner said that strategy would have to be more selective this year.
"We are going to be more, let me say, judicious in our use of incentives, and we think this is going to get the focus back on product," the CEO said.
Kerkorian, who rocked Detroit with a failed takeover bid for Chrysler a decade ago, has kept a relatively low profile since his Los Angeles-based investment firm Tracinda Corp. bought nearly 10 percent of GM's shares last year.
He sold off part of that stake in a tax-motivated sale last month, but still holds 7.8 percent of GM's shares.
But speculation in recent days about York's speech on Tuesday has centered on moves that the financier may demand, including the dividend cut to preserve GM's cash. The dividend costs GM about $1.1 billion per year in payments.
"We have a lot decisions in our corporate governance process that are reviewed by the board," Wagoner told reporters on Tuesday. "The dividend is one where the decision is clearly made by the board of directors every quarter. So I don't want to speak for them. I get one vote."