GM looking to cut white-collar jobs in North America image

General Motors has reportedly hired a management consultant firm to identify areas to cut an undetermined number of white-collar jobs.

According to two people familiar with the matter quoted by Bloomberg, Miami-based Hackett Group will help identify opportunities for job cuts and efficiency improvements at GM headquarters and elsewhere in North America.

GM has been cutting engineers and other other white-collar staff, spokesman Jay Cooney admitted, but he declined to comment on whether GM had hired Hackett Group. GM CEO Dan Akerson has been reducing costs in recent months as he tries to improve the automaker’s margins. GM aims to beat Ford’s forecasted earnings of 7 percent of sales before interest and taxes and targets Hyundai’s 10 percent margin. However, GM won’t use mass cuts of buyouts as it did before its 2009 bankruptcy, Cooney said.

„We are streamlining our business, looking for efficiencies, and to this extent, there will be some headcount reductions and it will be on a global basis. GM is continually seeking ways to improve our operating performance and reduce complexity to deliver a world- class cost structure and profit margins,” Cooney said in an e-mail.

In the first nine months of 2011, GM posted an operating margin of 5 percent, compared with 6.7 percent for Ford, 7.7 percent for Volkswagen and 10 percent for Hyundai.