On the cost-cutting side, we have been streamlining our U.S. operations while simultaneously improving quality and productivity. Since 2000, we have reduced our U.S. hourly workforce by 52%, from 133,000 to 64,000, through buyouts and other programs. During the same period, we have cut our U.S. salaried employment from 44,000 to fewer than 30,000, and reduced our U.S. executive ranks by 45%.
However, we know we cannot just slash our way to prosperity. We have closed the quality and productivity gaps with the imports, as confirmed by J.D. Power and Associates (the consumer ratings firm) and the Harbour Report (which benchmarks North American plant-floor performance). New GM product programs launched earlier this decade have produced award-winning cars and crossovers like the Saturn Aura, Cadillac CTS and Buick Enclave. And that is just the beginning.
2. Some people bought GM (or Ford or Chrysler) vehicles in the past and they were ... baaaad. Ergo, all vehicles made by those companies are -- forever and always -- baaaad. (No -- see J.D. Power).