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In Shift, GM Now Pursues Partners
The Wall Street Journal

By SHARON TERLEP


PARIS—General Motors Co. has begun seeking out potential partnerships and tie-ups with other auto makers in hopes of cutting costs and sharing the burden of developing new technologies.

The move signals a significant shift in strategy. Before GM was reorganized in bankruptcy court last year its management and board took the view that the company was large enough to achieve economies of scale and develop most technologies on its own.

The new management team believes partnerships can help the company as it navigates a turnaround, GM Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky said on the sidelines of the ongoing Paris auto show.

"As the company's performance has gotten better, people are more open to doing business" with GM, Mr. Girsky said. "We have needs, and we have things to offer."

A former equities analyst and one-time adviser to both the United Auto Workers union and former GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner, Mr. Girsky joined GM's new board of directors last year. He later added the vice chairman post, which gives him supervision of alliances, among other duties.

GM is interested in partnerships that would help fill holes in its global product lineup as well as broaden its engineering base and speed development of new technologies, Mr. Girsky said.

Earlier this year, GM set up a $100 million venture-capital fund to help develop technologies, an effort led by Mr. Girsky. So far, GM has invested in an Indiana electric car company and a Michigan-based battery start-up.

The Detroit auto maker already has talked with a number of car companies about potential pairings, including those in technology, manufacturing and products, said people familiar with the discussions.

Top GM executives have been meeting with representatives of other car makers gathered for the Paris show, which continues this week, said people familiar with the matter.

In 2006, GM held talks about joining the alliance of France's Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. of Japan, but the idea was ultimately opposed by then-CEO Mr. Wagoner.


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I'm still wondering if we'll ever see another GM-Ford pairing like they did for the 6-speed transmissions (Which seemed to work well for Ford, as their version apparently ended up better)
 

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Nissan is already tied up with MB and moving in that direction.
I doubt we will see Nissan involvement in GM anytime soon.
 
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