Two of the four plants to be closed are in the US, one in Canada and one in Mexico.

The Detroit-based car maker announced that it may sell the fuel-intensive Hummer brand, sales of which decreased by 46% on April last year.

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GM’s chief executive, Rick Wagoner, said that although Hummer had provided good value in the past, “that equation has obviously changed” with the rise in petrol prices.

GM also announced that it is developing a new Chevrolet compact car in the US, marking the first application of its global small-car platform, which is already used for models in Europe and South Korea.

Production of the Chevrolet compact car is due to start in mid-2010.