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The lifespan of the latest-generation of GM platforms could be stretched out to a dozen years or more under a recently announced new cost reduction plan.

Dan Ammann, president of GM, has told Reuters that the platform that underpins the second-generation Chevrolet Cruze could last for 12 years or even longer.

It’s expected that the D2XX platform that’s used on the latest Cruze, as well as the Opel Astra, will eventually serve underneath 2.5 million new vehicles per year.

Stretching out platform life is reportedly part of an effort to cut costs and redirect development spending in the longer term. To save money down the road, GM is planning to spend more in the next few years, with capital costs set to rise from US$7 billion ($9.75 billion) per year in 2014 to US$9 billion ($12.5 billion) every year until 2019.

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To compensate, the auto giant is planning on facelifting or reskinning its vehicles more frequently than before. It is also looking to update its cars’ electronic feature sets via over-the-air updates, similar to what Tesla does now with its Model S.

Other cost cutting measures will include longer contract lengths with suppliers and sourcing stamping dies from China.

Once platform development costs have been reigned in, GM plans to spend some of its savings on developing self-driving cars and exploiting high-speed in-car internet connectivity, as well investing in new business ventures.

Last month, the company announced that it was investing US$500 million ($700 million) in Lyft, Uber’s main ride-sharing competitor in the US. It also launched Maven, a new car sharing service which will start out small but may one-day rival incumbents, such as Zipcar.




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