UPDATE 1-GM's Ammann sees 'modest continued growth' in U.S. market in 2014

Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:16am EST

By Ben Klayman

DETROIT Jan 13 (Reuters) - Dan Ammann, the incoming president of General Motors Co, said on Monday the automaker expects the U.S. market to continue to grow modestly in 2014.

"We see modest continued growth in the industry here in the U.S., in line with general expectations," Ammann said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. He is currently the chief financial officer of GM.

Most analysts and industry executives expect 2014 U.S. sales to finish in the range of 16 million to 16.5 million light vehicles. In 2013, industry sales rose 7.6 percent to 15.6 million.

Ammann also said GM has a big opportunity to more fully integrate its global operations as it pushes to boost production efficiency and cut production costs. He said the company can better integrate its manufacturing operations globally as it has done the last several years with product development.

"We have an opportunity to run this much more like one big integrated organization than we have," he told reporters, adding that the Detroit-based automaker had made progress in that area but could accelerate those efforts.

Asked whether GM was committed to its Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand in light of the company's announcement last month it would stop building cars in Australia by 2017, the New Zealand native said GM will continue to support the brand there.

Ammann added that Australians have voted with their wallets by buying so many imported cars so he did not expect a backlash against GM's brand.

"It's a very, very important brand," he said of Holden. "It means a lot in Australia and New Zealand and we see a very significant role for the brand."

Ammann declined to say how much GM's global recall last week of its newly introduced 2014 full-size pickup trucks would cost, but said it was a "simple fix to address." GM said Friday it would recall about 370,000 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks to reprogram software to avoid overheating that could lead to a fire.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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