The company's product development chief, Mary Barra, tells analysts GM is saving money by using the same parts on many vehicles. It also has moved parts suppliers closer to factories to cut shipping costs. And it's building more models on the same underpinnings.
GM is briefing analysts on its business plans Wednesday at its testing center near Detroit.
Barra says GM used to have 11 air bag systems to protect a driver's knees. Moving to a single design should cut costs 21 percent by 2017.
She says GM had 30 different sets of vehicle frames in 2010. That will drop to 17 by 2018. Automakers can save billions by building more cars off the same frames.