GM to take 'smaller is better' initiatives.

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General Motors's most recent initiatives will focus on small-car production and close four plants that produced trucks and SUVs.

Rick Wagoner, GM chairman and CEO, said since the first of 2008, U.S. economic and market conditions have become more difficult than previously experienced.

"Higher gasoline prices are changing consumer behavior, and they are significantly affecting the U.S. auto industry sales mix," he said.

Wagoner said that in response to that situation, GM would have several new initiatives:

* A new global compact car program for Chevrolet, a next generation for the popular Chevy Aveo, and a high efficiency engine module for the U.S. market.

* Funding for production of the Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle.

* Addition of third shifts to Lordstown and Orion, which build hot-selling Chevy and Pontiac cars.

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