More than 6,000 U.S. hourly workers have left General Motors Co under the automaker's latest buyout program intended to make it a leaner company after its emergence from bankruptcy.

GM, which exited bankruptcy on July 10 by selling most of its assets to a group funded by the U.S. Treasury, said the latest round of buyouts has brought the total number of its U.S. factory workers to 48,000.

GM has said it aims to reduce its U.S. hourly employment to about 40,500 by the end of 2009, through layoffs and other measures.

The cuts add to the thousands lost in the downturn for U.S. automakers that began in 2005 and forced both GM and Chrysler Group LLC to restructure under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Since 2006, about 66,000 U.S. hourly workers -- more than half of its factory workforce -- have left GM through buyouts and retirement packages as the automaker scrambled to reduce costs in the face of slowing sales and mounting losses.

The company also plans to cut its white-collar workforce more than 20 percent, or 6,000 jobs, this year. Executive ranks will be cut 35 percent.

GM lost $31 billion in 2008, taking its total losses to $82 billion in the last four years. It lost its ranking as the top global automaker by vehicle sales worldwide in 2008 when it was outsold by Toyota Motor Corp.

One of the very tough, but necessary actions to position the company for long-term viability and success is to reduce our total U.S. workforce, both hourly and salaried employees, said Diana Tremblay, GM vice president of labor relations.

Most of the hourly workers left the company on August 1, GM said.

GM is also scheduled to report its U.S. auto sales for July later on Monday. Analysts expect the automaker to post a double-digit decrease in sales from a year ago, although the U.S. government's trade-in incentives likely limited the pace of the decline.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim, Editing by Maureen Bavdek and Gunna Dickson)