General Motors CEO Mary Barra said it is offering voluntary buyouts to salaried workers in North America. 

DETROIT — General Motors said it is offering voluntary buyouts to salaried workers in North America, acknowledging Wednesday that if it does not get enough takers, it may consider layoffs early next year.

Shortly after reporting better-than-expected third quarter earnings, CEO Mary Barra sent an email to all 50,000 salaried GM employees in North America Wednesday morning.

“We sent a letter to employees saying any salaried employee in North America with 12 years or more experience will have the opportunity to take a voluntary severance program,” GM spokesman Pat Morrissey said.

GM has been cutting costs for several years. Wednesday, it said it would make $6.5 billion in reductions for 2018. The job cuts will not benefit GM until next year, Morrissey said.

GM reported good third-quarter results, proving that the automaker is “still in a good place in terms of our performance and the future,” Morrissey said.

GM has 18,000 salaried employees who have 12 years or more experience. There is not internal target as to how many GM wants to take the offers, but typically the take rate is “relatively low.”

Depending on how many workers take the offer and other cost-cutting efforts, Morrissey said, “we’ll re-evaluate doing an involuntary program after the first of the year.”

Meanwhile, GM will continue to recruit talent for certain areas of the business it is expanding, namely engineering and technology for its work on self-driving and electric cars, he said.

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“We always have the need to acquire new talent,” Morrissey said.

The company has hired 17,000 salaried and hourly workers in the past two years and spent $1 billion remaking its offices into modern workspaces. It also has won two major investments in its work on autonomous vehicles, with Japan’s SoftBank and Honda partnering with the carmaker’s Cruise division.

The company says 40 percent of its 67,000 salaried full-time workers worldwide have been hired in the past five years.

Employees who are eligible for the buyout have until Nov. 19 to decide. Those who take the buyout have until the end of the year to continue with GM, with severance effective Jan. 1.

Rival Ford also is working to reduce its salaried workforce. Ford has not provided specifics on how many jobs will be cut or when.


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