After pleasing Wall Street in 2006 by cutting costs and raising cash, General Motors ( GM) said Thursday that it will look to continue its turnaround in the new year by ratcheting up capital spending and focusing on sales outside the U.S. The world's largest automaker said its global capital spending would increase from under $8 billion in 2005 and 2006 to between $8.5 billion and $9 billion in 2007 and 2008. By investing more in its business around the world, the company plans to take back market share from its competitors and return to profitability. "We have had a very positive reaction to our newest vehicles, including the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade full-size utilities, and the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave midsize crossovers," GM said in a statement. "We also swept the car and truck of the year awards at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit with the Saturn Aura and Chevrolet Silverado." GM noted that 55% of its unit sales in 2006 came from outside the U.S., and it expects that trend to continue. To further capitalize on opportunities overseas, GM said it will continue to build on its position in emerging markets. The company plans to run its business "globally" in areas such as product development, manufacturing and purchasing. "This move to run the business in a globally integrated manner is, in fact, probably the most profound change that is going on in the company today," said CEO Rick Wagoner in the statement. "In 2007, we'll drive to accelerate the value we realize from global integration of GM." GM's latest announcement echoes similar efforts at the No. 2 U.S. automaker, Ford ( F), which recently outlined plans to
restructure its organization to function globally. Both companies face bloated inventories and slowing sales in the U.S. as the economy slows and consumers look to save money.