Ammann says new leadership has clear path ahead

Ammann says new leadership has clear path ahead.

GM to Reinvest $7.5 Billion in Global Operations

In addition to a raft of new-product programs, the outlay will back construction of five new assembly plants planned for China through 2015.

DETROIT – General Motors will pour $7.5 billion back into its global operations this year to support the launch of 32 new or redesigned products in its biggest markets of the U.S. and China, President Dan Ammann says.

“That’s pretty consistent with the run-rate for the last couple of years,” Ammann tells WardsAuto on the sidelines of the Automotive News World Congress here today.

GM last year invested $8 billion to support a comparable raft of global vehicle introductions, including 18 cars, trucks and CUVs in the U.S., up from $6.2 billion in 2012.

The capital reinvestments also fund R&D for products down the road, as well as new infrastructure such as the five new assembly plants the automaker plans for China through 2015. The manufacturing investments in China will support output of 5 million units annually, GM said earlier today.

Key global introductions this year include the automaker’s redesigned large SUVs, its all-new small pickups, the Cadillac ATS Coupe luxury car and Chevrolet Sail and Aveo small cars for emerging markets.

GM will launch 15 new or upgraded models in the U.S., compared with 18 last year.

“Our first priority is to reinvest in the business, in the product portfolio,” says Ammann, who began his first day as president of GM on Wednesday after previously serving as chief financial officer since April 2011.

GM also said today it expects "modestly improved" earnings before interest and taxes this year, with a modestly improved operating performance offsetting restructuring expenses related to manufacturing cutbacks in Australia and Europe.

In his new role, Ammann, 41, will manage GM’s regional operations around the world, the global Chevrolet and Cadillac brand organizations, global product planning, global connected consumer/OnStar and GM Financial.

The transition marks the first time in his career Ammann will work outside of finance.

“I’m really, really excited,” Ammann says. “This is just a fascinating business to be involved in. It’s global, super-competitive, technology-focused (and) I just love the car business overall."

Ammann’s transition also marks the end of GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson’s 3-year run atop the company. Akerson’ s retirement, effective Wednesday, led to the appointment of former global product chief Mary Barra as the first female CEO at a U.S. automaker.

Akerson oversaw pivotal stages of GM’s comeback from its 2009 bankruptcy, such as its return as a public company, the exit of the U.S. Treasury from its ownership structure and formation of a new leadership team.

“He made a tremendous impact on the company,” Ammann says. “He leaves a legacy of tremendous progress. We’ve still got a long ways to go as a company. We’ve got a great leadership team and a clear path about what we want to do.”

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