In a push for better margins, GM CEO Dan Akerson is pushing for widespread cost reductions.

General Motors posted a $6.3 billion profit during the first-half of 2011 - marking the company's best start in over two-decades - but company CEO Dan Akerson wants the Detroit-based automaker to perform better.

Although GM's $6.3 billion profit is nothing to sneeze at, Akerson is quick to point out that figure equates to a 6 percent margin. Akerson wants to see GM beat out the 7 percent margins realized by Ford and Volkswagen.

In order to reach that goal, GM will continue to pare its vehicle and engine platforms. GM is planning to have just 14 global architectures by 2018, representing a dramatic decrease from the 30 architectures currently in use. GM will also cut its engine platforms from 20 to 10 during the same period.

Akerson has also targeted the company's marketing efforts as a way to reduce costs. GM's Chevy brand currently utilizes more than 50 agencies to handling its marketing efforts, but Global Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick want to see than number fall below 10 in the coming months.

Proving that nothing is off the table when it comes to costs savings, GM has also reduced the thermostats at some of its engineering facilities. Last month the automaker reduced the thermostats at three engineering facilities from 68 degrees to 66 degrees, which is expected to save the company $1 million annually.


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