DETROIT -- General Motors is counting on a parade of new technology-packed models to drive sales growth and profitability in North America and China over the next four years as part of an ambitious push to become the world's "most valued" automaker by early in the next decade.
The company's China plan includes $14 billion in investments by its joint ventures to open five more auto assembly plants by 2018, with a goal of spurring sales in China to 5 million vehicles a year, from the current level of about 3.5 million.
Also playing a big role in GM's global strategy is Cadillac, which will introduce four new vehicles in North America next year, and nine new models in China over the next five years.
By 2016, GM aims to achieve adjusted profit margins of 10 percent in North America, return to profitability in Europe and maintain margins of 9 to 10 percent in China, said CEO Mary Barra, who outlined the plan at GM's proving grounds here ahead of an investor conference.
Barra said becoming highly valued would mean earning "customers for life" and creating "significant" value for shareholders. "We have the talent and global footprint" to accomplish that, she said.
In a briefing for reporters on Wednesday, Barra declined to detail how many vehicles GM plans to launch in the next few years, but said new or recently updated cars and trucks will make up 27 percent of global sales volume in 2015, increasing to 38 percent in 2016 and 47 percent in 2017.
The new vehicles will feature advanced technologies ranging from automated driving features, to a mixed material body structure combining steel and aluminum, to new families of lighter, more compact and more fuel efficient engines. Barra said, "We want to be on the leading edge of new technologies."