DETROIT -- General Motors spent much less than it expected last year on its GM Cruise autonomous vehicle operations.
As part of its 2018 earnings report Wednesday, GM said it spent $728 million on the business vs. the roughly the $1 billion it had forecast.
CEO Mary Barra attributed the lower expenses in part to "incredibly good cost controls" by former Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt, who became the unit's chief technology officer Jan 1. Former GM President Dan Ammann succeeded Vogt as CEO.
"Kyle Vogt is an excellent leader and manager, and he spends every dollar like it is his own," Barra said during a call with investors.
Other factors may be that GM didn't begin testing its autonomous vehicles in New York City in 2018 as expected, and that plans to deploy a fourth-generation vehicle without manual controls have stalled pending regulatory approvals.
A GM spokesman said the lower spending was due to "nothing unusual" and that Cruise is "focused on acquiring talent and making progress on its plan."