PONTIAC, MICH., SEPT. 28 -- General Motors Corp. Chairman Roger B. Smith today said he thinks the tentative pact between the United Auto Workers and Ford Motor Co. could be tailored to GM because it recognizes the auto industry's "cyclicality."

Smith, at a news conference marking the fifth anniversary of GM's truck and bus group, said the contract reached Sept. 17 at Ford could be used as "a springboard" for a new three-year contract covering GM's 366,000 U.S. hourly workers.

"There seems to be good recognition of cyclicality of the industry," the GM chief said.

Smith added that he is "optimistic that we can use the Ford contract as a springboard to adapt it to the differences between Ford and GM."

Analysts have said the Ford contract could mark an end to "pattern bargaining," the system where one contract serves as a pattern for negotiations with another company in the automotive industry. But Smith's comments appeared to indicate the No. 1 auto maker is willing to take a close look at the Ford pact.

"There is a volume relation and economy factor in there that I think can make {the Ford contract} acceptable," he said. However, he cautioned that "there are differences" between the two auto makers, and that those would have to be resolved at the bargaining table.

GM and UAW negotiators stepped up negotiations after the union reached tentative agreement on a new pact with Ford. The UAW's current pact with GM was set to expire Sept. 14, but was extended indefinitely.

The union, however, could set a strike deadline soon.

Smith said he hopes the current negotiations between GM and the UAW will secure an agreement without a strike. But he stopped short of saying that such an agreement would guarantee the jobs of GM's 366,000 hourly workers in the United States.

Voting continued at Ford union locals around the country today, with the UAW expected to announce ratification Wednesday. Reports indicated the pact covering 104,000 Ford workers is winning rank-and-file approval by landslide margins.

On other matters, Smith said he feels GM's share of the car and truck market has seen its lowest point and will increase by between 3 percent and 5 percent in the coming year. He said he expects GM's share of the overall U.S. car market including imports to climb to above 40 percent as the car maker introduces a range of new cars, including a new line of front-drive intermediate-sized coupes.

For the first six months of 1987, GM's car share was at about 37.5 percent.

Smith also predicted that GM's share of the light truck market will reach between 33 and 35 percent. He said the truck and bus unit will introduce in 1990 a four-door compact pickup truck based on its current two-door Blazer and Jimmy models, and a new medium-duty truck.

GM last year merged its heavy-duty truck business with Volvo, and sold its transit bus business to Greyhound Corp.

On other matters, the GM chairman defended the auto maker's 1988-model pricing strategy announced last Friday, saying it has actually lowered prices on about 30 percent of its car lines, compared with similarly equipped 1987 models.

"There is no trickery, just straight old-fashioned accounting," Smith said in defending GM's full-page newspaper advertisements trumpeting the prices, which are tentative.

Although GM said its price increase for 1988 averages just 1.9 percent -- its lowest rise in more than a decade -- industry analysts said the giant car maker is in fact raising some prices substantially, while eliminating stripped-down versions of many small cars.

GM also is adopting a policy of grouping popular options, thus forcing buyers who want certain items to buy others.

Smith said the option groups enable GM to be more efficient in its ordering, purchasing and assembly.

In a general overview, Smith said the nation's economy seems to be in good shape and that the outlook remains good for 1988 and 1989.

However, he cautioned that this will happen only if Washington does not make some "horrible mistake" -- like failing to address the budget and trade deficits.