GM to cut about a fourth of research workforce at Warren Technical Center
DETROIT — General Motors Co. plans to cut about a quarter of the workers at its research and development facility at the Warren Technical Center, part of a broader reorganization of its R&D operation.
GM plans to lay off about 100 of the roughly 400 R&D workers at the Warren complex, said a person with knowledge of the plans. An additional 90 R&D people at a GM research facility in India will be let go, the source said.
Most of GM’s global R&D employees are based in Warren.
GM’s research division accounts for only a small fraction of its operation at the sprawling Warren center, which employs about 16,000 workers in design, engineering and other areas.
In a statement, GM confirmed the restructuring but would not confirm the number of layoffs. The R&D realignment is being led by longtime GM engineer Jon Lauckner, who took over the operation last month .
Lauckner replaced Tom Stephens, who retired as GM’s chief technology officer. GM decided not to replace Alan Taub, former vice president of R&D, who worked under Stephens and retired last month. Lauckner has assumed Taub’s duties.
“These moves will enable the organization to better focus on commercializing customer-focused innovation in a more efficient and cost-effective manner,” GM said in the statement.
Some of the changes are structural but don’t involve job cuts, a GM spokesman said. For example, about 60 R&D employees who are developing fuel cell technologies at a facility in Honeoye Falls, N.Y., now will report to GM’s powertrain division rather than its R&D division.
According to its 2011 annual report, GM spent $8.1 billion on R&D last year. But that figure also includes the company’s global engineering expenses and essentially includes GM’s entire product development budget, the spokesman said.
GM’s core R&D operation focuses on advanced technologies, such as fuel cell development, and represents only a small portion of that $8.1 billion figure, he said.
From Automotive News