By Norihiko Shirouzu
BEIJING (Reuters) – General Motors Co <GM.N> said on Tuesday it will combine operations outside of China and North America into a new organization based in Detroit, further scaling back its presence in money-losing markets as it ramps up spending on electric vehicles.
GM said the Detroit automaker will combine the leadership of its International region, which includes Southeast Asia, India and Oceania, with its South America region, effective Jan. 1, 2018. The new company will be led by Barry Engle, currently GM executive vice president and president of GM South America.
Engle will be based in Detroit and report to GM President Dan Ammann. Engle joined GM in September 2015.
GM’s Latin American and Asia/Pacific operations both lost money in 2016, excluding profits from GM’s operations in China.
“Our strategy (is) to refocus our traditional business operations to free up the resources and financial power needed to really step into the next chapter of the automotive industry,” Stefan Jacoby, executive vice president of GM’s International Operations told Reuters. Jacoby will retire at the end of this year.
On Monday GM outlined plans to add 20 new battery electric and fuel cell vehicles to its global lineup by 2023, financed by robust profits from sales of gasoline-fueled trucks and sport utility vehicles in the United States and China.
Under Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, GM has shrunk its international operations over the past five years, ceasing manufacturing in Australia and Indonesia, and significantly restructuring its Thai operations. The automaker is winding down efforts to sell cars in India and turning its manufacturing facilities there into an export hub.
GM also exited Europe by selling those operations, essentially its German unit Opel, to French automaker Peugeot SA <PEUP.PA>.
Barra’s strategy is starting to win over investors. On Monday GM shares closed at $42.15, their highest since the company’s 2010, post-bankruptcy initial public offering.
(Additional reporting by Joe White in Detroit; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)