General Motors plans to eliminate 25,000 jobs in the United States by 2008 by closing additional assembly and components plants, part of a plan to revive its struggling North American operations, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Speaking to shareholders at GM's 96th annual shareholder meeting in Delaware on Tuesday morning, chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner reportedly said the capacity and employment reductions will generate annual savings of roughly $US2.5 billion.

According to AP, Wagoner said it was vital for the company to improve efficiency at its manufacturing plants and added that plant closings and idlings in recent months have reduced assembly capacity in North America from six million in 2002 to five million by the end of this year - it was not immediately known which GM plants would be closed.

"Let me say up front that our absolute top priority is to get our largest business unit back to profitability as soon as possible," Wagoner reportedly said.

The Associated Press noted taht GM has already closed several facilities this year - the company shut a factory in Linden, New Jersey, in April and a factory in Baltimore in May, affecting around 2,000 employees, and also closed two plants in Lansing, Michigan, last month, although those 3,500 employees are expected to find work at other GM facilities in the city.

AP said Wagoner revealed the cutbacks as he laid out a four-step strategy to revive GM's North American business, the biggest and most troubling part of the world's largest automaker.

Wagoner reportedly focused on priorities for clarifying the role of each of GM's eight brands, intensifying efforts to reduce cost and improve quality and continuing to search for ways to reduce skyrocketing health care costs.

According to the Associated Press, he noted that the company's current $1,500 per unit health-care expense puts GM at a "significant disadvantage versus foreign-based competitors," and said GM has conducted "intense discussions" with the unions about how to reduce health-care costs.

AP noted that General Motors shares rose 1.7 percent in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange and added that billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's offer to purchase 28 million GM shares at $31 apiece, boosting his stake to about 9% from 4%, expires later on Tuesday.

Wagoner's remarks - full official text