Marry Barra and a new era at General Motors

1 2015 Cadillac Escalade

What a difference a couple of years makes. GM was left for dead by many after the 2008 economic meltdown. In our polarized political climate, it seemed that watching GM collapse was essential to validate their view of the world. The notion that the government would extend a lifeline and not let GM and Chrysler liquidate was heresy in many circles. Never mind that it would have decimated countless auto suppliers as well and destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The auto bailout, however, was much more than a government handout. It was an event that made it possible to make stryctural changes to GM that were necessary for the company’s survival and long term health. But even after the bailout, many were skeptical that GM could survive, let alone thrive. This is where the new management team found itself, and they deserve credit for moving the company forward. BusinessWeek noted the progress as GM made the hsitoric announcement that Mary Barra would take over as the new CEO:

As Barra takes charge, GM is looking stronger than it has in decades. It’s in its third straight profitable year and feasting on the fruits of bankruptcy, which in its case include lower labor costs, less debt, and the elimination of weak brands and redundant dealers. Brian Johnson, an analyst with Barclays (BCS), expects it to earn about $6 billion in 2013. As the automaker sees the benefits of all the products it’s launching and additional cost reductions, its profit could reach $10 billion in 2017, according to Johnson. In 2010, GM had the second-biggest initial public offering in U.S. history; shares are trading at a high; the company returned to the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index; and it won back an investment-grade credit rating for the first time in eight years from Moody’s (MCO). Warren Buffett has been buying the stock. China, where Buick is a status symbol—it was the ride of China’s last emperor—is now the company’s biggest market.

And GM is no longer “Government Motors.” On Dec. 9, the day before Akerson announced his retirement, the Department of the Treasury, which had been selling about 1 million GM shares a day as the year was ending, declared it had sold the last. The federal government will recoup about $39 billion of its $50 billion investment. Supporters of the Obama administration’s decision to take over GM, who now include Akerson, contend that the jobs saved at both the company and its huge network of suppliers more than repaid U.S. taxpayers. According to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., the takeover preserved 2.6 million jobs in 2009 at automakers and companies that depend on the industry. The center calculates that a collapse would have eliminated $284 billion in personal income in 2009 and 2010 and cost the federal government $105 billion in unemployment benefits and reduced Social Security contributions. GM says it has invested $8.8 billion in U.S. facilities since 2009 and created 25,500 jobs for new and existing workers.

Barra’s promotion is historic given her gender, but it also marks a new era in the history of GM. The bailout years are now behind the company, and Barra has an opportunity to continue the progress made over the past 5 years. Read the entire article, as she seems particularly qualified to lead this effort.

  

General Motors Regains Sales Crown

After three years of being bested by Toyota, General Motors is once again the world’s best selling automaker. General Motors sold 9,025,942 in 2011, a 7.6 percent increase over last year’s figures. General Motors even bested Volkswagen, who have made it a public goal to become the biggest automaker on the block. Toyota trailed both GM and VW though, whose sales dropped 6 percent in 2011.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Ed Whitacre clueless in Motorcity?

Peter Delorenzo at Autoextremist.com is not feeling the love for GM everything Ed Whitacre.

No one could miss the headline screaming “Whitacre wants more sales – NOW!” on the top of the front page in this week’s Automotive News. And as the story attempted to flesh out Big Ed’s growing impatience with the whole “sluggish sales” quandary that continues to vex GM – and the reassignment and in some cases jettisoning of sales and marketing executives – and after observing the day-to-day chaos that seems to define GM of late, I’m getting the distinct impression that Whitacre still doesn’t have a clue as to what he’s dealing with here in the auto biz.

So I thought I’d give Big Ed a few pointed reminders…

Dear Ed:

I’m sure you’ve figured this out about now, but just in case you haven’t, this business isn’t about consolidating “Baby” Bells, or fixin’ to make deals, or playing phone and cable customers off against each other, either. And it’s not about packaging cable, phone and Internet service into tidy little bundles that people can deal with by the month, at the expense of a competitor you want to bury.

Read the full article here.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

  

GM to be more youth oriented?

Is this the future design of the fabled Corvette? Word has it GM wants a more “youth oriented” appeal with a smaller design for the next gen C-7. Whichever direction or market that they are targeting that is one smooth looking ride!

From AutoGuide.com:

General Motors sees rough waters ahead for the Corvette unless changes are made to the vehicle now. So in an effort to solve any potential issues before they actually become problems, Chevy has decided to look outside America for help.

So what would sort of problems could the incredibly capable American icon have? Well, according to a report in AutoWeek, GM saw a 48 percent sales decline for the Corvette over the last year, while the bigger issue might be that the average age of Corvette buyers continues to rise. Last year, the average age was 54. Chevy believes that in order to combat this issue and make the Vette more attractive to a younger demographic it needs a design change. After all, the car’s performance certainly can’t be in question.

Read the full article here.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

  

GM changing for the better?

Whatever happens with GM in the future you can’t say they aren’t trying everything they can think of to drive sales now. This new idea appears to be a sound one and I say keep reinventing yourself GM and good things may follow. I can’t help but get the feeling that GM is really changing for the better!

The trucks left Friday for a 40-factory road show to bring some of General Motors’ newest vehicles to the company’s workers across the country.

It’s part of GM’s effort to give more workers a chance to test-drive the company’s cars and trucks, and possibly lead to new sales for the automaker.

GM sales were up 14% in January, but the company is still rebuilding after emerging from bankruptcy in July.

Vehicles — such as the Chevrolet Equinox midsize SUV and Buick LaCrosse sedan — should arrive Monday at the first stops: GM plants in Arlington, Texas; Shreveport, La.; Defiance, Ohio, and Tonawanda, N.Y.

Read the full article at the Detroit Free Press.

  

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