GM to offer early-retirement package

General Motors Corp. (GM) is set to announce an early retirement program for salaried employees in an effort to again cut its combined salaried and contract work force by 10% this year. GM vice chairman Bob Lutz told reporters this week that the moves are not a reaction to the current outlook for the economy or auto sales, which are expected to drop about 10% this year. "The impression I don't want to give is that this is some sort of emergency program post 9/11 because we're staring at a lower industry," Lutz said. "It's really part of the ongoing slimming down of General Motors." Lutz said the program will be completely voluntary and will be responsible for only part of the 10% reduction in salaried and contract staff in North America expected this year. The company's not looking at any voluntary separation packages or layoffs of younger salaried employees at the current time, Lutz said.

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