GM competing with tech giants in race to offer self-driving cars - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

GM competing with tech giants in race to offer self-driving cars

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DETROIT, MI. -

General Motors is trimming back production in the wake of flattening car sales at the same time the auto industry's competitive landscape is changing.

"They've become disciplined about not letting inventories get totally out of control," said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for AutoTrader.com.

Krebs has monitored and reported on the industry, including GM, for 35 years. She watched as the automaker emerged from bankruptcy after the auto bailout. 

She and other analysts believe weathering another economic storm will come with new obstacles. 

"For the last hundred and some years, it's been just the auto companies worrying about each other, but now these challenges can come from a whole different array of different fields," said Nick Bunkley, news editor at Automotive News.

Bunkley spent the last decade working at the General Motors reporter for Automotive News.

He says GM will be joined by tech companies, including Apple and Google, that are looking for ways to offer self-driving options to consumers. 

In order to compete, Bunkley says GM is recruiting job candidates from Silicon Valley and universities.

"They've been getting 40 or 50 people a year from places like MIT," he said.

GM bought San Francisco-based Cruise Automation to create a self-driving model of the Chevy Bolt, which is built just outside of Detroit.

The technology push comes at the same time the Mexican auto industry is reporting another banner year of record sales and exports. 

What role GM Lordstown will play in building the vehicles of the future remains uncertain.  As the automaker joins the race to build the models of tomorrow in an industry where competition is only picking up speed.

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