DETROIT: Ailing US automaker General Motors is hoping its investment in hybrid, fuel efficient vehicles will be one of the keys to its financial recovery in the coming years.

To this end the company is planning an imminent marketing push to promote forthcoming innovations, including a next-generation hybrid car with a battery that drivers can recharge by plugging into an ordinary wall socket.

Hybrids combine a traditional gasoline engine with an electric motor that kicks in during stop-and-go driving to reduce fuel consumption.

Fuel cells - another hope for the future of motoring - use a chemical process to convert hydrogen to electricity and produce no tailpipe emissions other than water.

GM will begin its technology charm offensive later this month when chairman/ceo Rick Wagoner speaks at the Los Angeles auto show.

Hypes vice-chairman Robert Lutz: "This can be a game changer for GM . . . Maybe it will take one year, two years or three years, but we are going to take the technology leadership back from Toyota."

The company's Japanese rival has stolen a march on the fuel efficient vehicle market in the US and elsewhere with its top selling Prius hybrid marque.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff