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General Motors Co. has hired a chief data officer — a new position — to help the company strengthen data science and analytics of customer, corporate and business data.

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra announced the hire during conference call with analysts and investors Tuesday.

A. Charles Thomas, who most recently was chief data officer and head of enterprise data and analytics at Wells Fargo, joined GM last week. He will report to GM North America President Alan Batey.

Automakers and suppliers are working on how to utilize the huge amounts of data cars today and into the future will generate.

Barra said GM will be able to provide over-the-air software updates on its vehicles by 2020. She said GM is studying how it can use data from its vehicles to aid customers and also as a business-to-business revenue opportunity to GM.

“The opportunity is there,” Barra said.

She said GM is testing an active health management system that will assess different vehicle components and alert customers ahead of time if they need to be fixed. The system would alert them for their vehicle to be fixed and could even unlock the doors for the fix using OnStar and lock the car when it’s done.

“That’s capability that is near-term that have and will be deploying,” Barra said.

mburden@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2319

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