GM streamlines vehicle development, cuts 20 jobs

 DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is restructuring its vehicle development process, cutting a layer of management and eliminating about 20 executive jobs.


The company said Wednesday that no one will be fired because the cuts will come through retirements and reassignment to other positions.


Currently at GM, cars and trucks are developed under a vehicle line executive, a line director and a chief engineer. Under the new structure, which starts Aug. 1, product lines will be under executive chief engineers. They will report to Doug Parks, who had been leading GM’s electric car development. Parks was named to a new position as vice president of product programs.


GM said the moves will cut complexity and make one person accountable for developing vehicles.


Company spokesman Klaus-Peter Martin would not comment on whether the changes are part of a broader management streamlining. In an interview with The Associated Press in December, CEO Dan Akerson said he was frustrated with the company’s bureaucracy and resistance to change.


Also, Mary Barra, GM’s senior vice president of product development, has been trying to make development of vehicles less complex to save money and speed up the process. Parks will report to Barra.


“The new structure eliminates redundancy and reduces complexity, enabling faster decision-making and instilling clear accountability in the vehicle development process,” GM said in a statement.


General Motors Co. shares fell 25 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $18.77 in afternoon trading after trading as low as $18.72 earlier in the session. That is the lowest price since it returned to the public stock market in November 2010.