General Motors has announced plans to cut the number of global vehicle platforms by more than half over the course of the next seven years in an attempt to reduce costs and complexity.

The news came out of GM's long-term sustainability presentation at the automaker's 2nd annual Global Business Conference where Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson addressed investors and analysts.

According to reports from the ground, Akerson and GM's senior vice president of global product development, Mary Barra, explained that the automaker intends to reduce the number of car and truck platforms from 30 to 14 by 2018.

Akerson said in a pre-released statement that, "To reach a higher level of performance – for our customers and stockholders – we are accelerating our efforts to simplify and strengthen our processes to improve efficiencies and achieve our vision, which is to design, build and sell the world's best vehicles."

The plan is for GM's "core" architectures to comprise over 90 percent of the automaker's vehicles (up from 31 percent last year) and to be used on a global scale for high-volume products. Additionally, the number of engine variants will also be reduced from 18 to around 10 by 2018, and combined with new developmental standardization, GM can get new products into showrooms quicker while improving quality in the process.

GM estimates that inefficiencies in its product development cycle, namely cancelled programs, engineering reassignments and late changes to vehicles – something GM calls "churn" – account for nearly $1 billion in lost profits. Annually.

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