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New GM CEO Barra Focused on Pleasing Buyers

Strong balance sheet helps with investment, innovation.

by on Jan.23, 2014

GM's new CEO Mary Barra says the automaker must focus on giving customers innovative vehicles.

General Motors must focus on satisfying customers with great products, while making sure the company’s various regions and brands are sharing best practices and working towards uniform goals and objectives, GM’s new chief executive officer said Thursday.

“To me, what’s important is we’re focused on the product,” Mary Barra, GM’s new chief executive, said during a meeting with reporters at the company’s Detroit headquarters.

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“I believe General Motors is an iconic company. People recognize the role that it plays. But at the end of the day, I don’t expect to get any free passes. It will depend on the strength of products and our brands. Public opinion is a bunch of individual opinions,” said Barra, who stressed the need for GM to deliver top-notch products throughout the meeting. (more…)

A Little Slowdown Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing, Suggests Ford’s Hinrichs

Americas chief says it helps keep capacity and demand in line – and maintains discipline.

by on Oct.16, 2013

Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, said the recent slowdown in sales may have been a good thing for automakers.

Whether you call it a statistical fluke or not, September saw U.S. car sales slow down a bit, and there are some signs that October could come in weak, as well, as a result of the government shutdown and deficit battle.  But at least one senior industry executive isn’t entirely upset.

The unexpectedly strong pace of the U.S. auto industry’s growth during the first eight months of the year threatened to stretch capacity to the limits, says Joe Hinrichs, Ford Motor Co.’s President of the Americas. Worse, it could encourage “certain behaviors” that nearly drove Ford into bankruptcy much like cross-town rivals General Motors and Chrysler.

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In a wide-ranging interview with, Hinrichs acknowledges that “Our competitors and we all thought September would be stronger than it was,” car sales declining 4.2% for the month, the first time volume had dipped on a year-over-year basis in 27 months. (more…)