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Barra Says Low Gas Prices Won’t Change GM Plans

Automaker continues to learn lessons from recalls.

by on Jan.15, 2015

GM CEO Mary Barra told Keith Crain, Automotive News editor-in-chief, that the automaker's plans haven't changed with the drop in gas prices.

The big drop in oil prices isn’t prompting General Motors to change its plans or strategy, GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said this week.

Barra was asked about the drop in oil and gasoline prices, which are down 55% in the past six months, during a discussion at the Automotive News World Congress with Keith Crain, the publication’s editor-in-chief.

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“I can tell you this. It hasn’t changed our plans one bit. I think everyone is a little perplexed. I don’t know what it’s going to be,” Barra said in reply to the question by Crain. Barra also admitted the recall crisis made her first years as GM’s top executive very difficult. “We’ve learned a lot,” she said. (more…)

Opel Plant Closes in Bid to Save GM Europe

Bochum plant victim of desperate turnaround bid.

by on Dec.05, 2014

The Bochum, Germany plant, which produced the Opel Zafira, was closed by Adam Opel.

General Motors has taken a critical step forward in its bid to salvage its money-losing European operations, shuttering an unneeded plant in Bochum, Germany.

The closure of the factory, which once employed as many as 22,000 workers, is central to a bid to reverse 15 years of losses by the Adam Opel subsidiary. At the same time, GM plans to invest 4 billion Euros, or nearly $5 billion into its European business to expand its product portfolio and improve the competitiveness of its remaining factories.

The Last Word!

The maker now says it expects to achieve a break-even at Opel by mid-decade. But that goal has been delayed so long that industry analysts are playing wait-and-see before declaring GM’s latest turnaround strategy a success. (more…)

GM Investing More Than $1 Billion in Plants in Europe, North America

Backing reflects confidence in future products.

by on Nov.24, 2014

General Motors is investing more than $1 billion in to plants in Europe and North America, including $40 million into its plant in Pontiac, Michigan.

General Motors is investing more than $1 billion in plants in Europe and North America to ensure the former achieves its goal of profitability while the latter can handle updates to existing vehicles as well as any new products.

Despite the fact that GM Europe has lost money for 17 years, the automaker plans to invest more than $300 million in Adam Opel’s home base in Rüsselsheim, outside of Frankfurt, Germany.

A Real Performer!

Mary Barra, GM’s chief executive officer, said that a new model will be produced at Opel’s plant in Rüsselsheim by the end of the decade.

“This SUV will be the brand’s second flagship alongside the Insignia,” Barra said. As announced in March, $300 million will be invested in Opel’s Rüsselsheim plant to meet future requirements,” Barra said. (more…)

China Plays Critical Role in GM’s Intelligent Vehicle Development

Maker plans to leverage expertise to produce smart cars.

by on Oct.20, 2014

General Motors is planning to further develop its autonomous vehicle technology in China, in particular its ENVI-style vehicles.

General Motors plans to bring its latest technology to China and use its technical resources in there to develop vehicles that can fit into the country’s growing megacities that continue to expand, GM top executive in China said this week.

“China has indeed has been a very rewarding market for GM we’ve benefited from the tremendous growth,” noted Matt Tsien, president of GM China. China plays very big role in GM strategic considerations and China’s voice is a very strong voice within GM, Tsien added during a discussion at the annual Global Automotive Forum in Wuhan, China.

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China became the world’s largest single automotive market in 2009 and the size of country’s car fleet has doubled in the last five years and is expected to double again by 2020. (more…)

GM Provides Investors with Brighter Outlook than Ford

by on Oct.01, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra speaks to the media before outlining the company's near- and long-term goals to investors today.

General Motors expects its North American business to produce a 10% profit margin by 2016, which will be about the same time it will begin turning a profit in Europe, GM executives told analysts today.

CEO Mary Barra and other senior executives outlined the company’s plans for the short and medium turn during the meeting at the company’s proving grounds in Milford, Michigan.

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Unlike Ford Motor Co. earlier in the week, GM executives were careful to avoid major surprises during the session as Chuck Stevens, GM’s chief financial officer, carefully outlined how GM expected to reach its objectives. (more…)

Toyota, Nissan and GM Take Top Honors in Motorist Choice Awards

Balancing customer satisfaction and cost of ownership.

by on Sep.24, 2014

Toyota's FJ Cruiser is the favorite SUV, according to IntelliChoice and AutoPacific's Motorist Choice Awards.

When it comes to the brands that best fit their lifestyle needs, U.S. drivers are pointing to Toyota, Nissan and General Motors, the three topping the charts in the new Motorist Choice Awards.

Compiled by data tracking service Intellichoice and automotive research firm AutoPacific, Inc., the awards are meant to reveal the vehicles that deliver the best combination of customer satisfaction and lower-than-expected operating costs.

Auto Insight!

“Buyers look for a vehicle based on their usage needs and emotional desires” said Daniel Hall, vice president of AutoPacific. “By paying attention to these buying patterns, and incorporating our satisfaction data and IntelliChoice’s cost of ownership insights, we can offer sound advice to consumers across all vehicle segments.” (more…)

GM Drops to Number Four

Still third in sales, but revenues slip a spot.

by on Aug.18, 2014

GM isn't the behemoth it used to be: it's fallen to fourth in revenue through the first half of 2014.

It was the manufacturer to beat for three-quarters of a century, but General Motors has been steadily losing ground in recent years, whether one measures from a vehicle sales standpoint, or in terms of revenues.

The latest numbers suggest the maker is still losing momentum by both metrics. GM slid to third when it comes to units sold for the first half of 2014. And focusing on just the most recent quarter, the Detroit maker fell to fourth when it comes to gross revenues.

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And it’s a question whether GM will even maintain that position, with several other major manufacturers close to catching up – especially if the U.S. maker’s ongoing safety problems begin to erode its position in the marketplace. (more…)

GM Plows $2.9 Billion into Brazil for Sales Rebound

Tough economic times lets maker get bang for its buck.

by on Aug.15, 2014

Brazilian President Dilma Roussef, left, and GM CEO Mary Barra are all smiles after Barra announced the maker was investing $2.9 billion there.

General Motors plans to invest $2.9 billion during the next five years in Brazil for product development, new technologies and employee training. The cash infusion is a reminder of the importance the maker places on the potential of the Brazilian market.

“This investment will allow the Chevrolet brand continue to renew its lineup with a focus on technology and quality,” said Jaime Ardila, president of GM South America, in a statement.

The Last Word!

“Another major purpose of this contribution is to raise the percentage of nationalization of the components of the cars made in Brazil, in an action that also involves suppliers installed in the country.” (more…)

Automakers Report Robust Results for July Sales

Despite impressive results, makers fall short of predictions.

by on Aug.01, 2014

Ford sales were led, once again, by the F-150, but supported by the Fusion and Escape. The maker reported a 10% increase in July.

U.S. automakers enjoyed a strong sales month in July, but fell short of lofty analyst expectations. Toyota and Ford were the only makers to surpass predictions with increases of 11.6% and 10% respectively.

New car sales got a lift during July thanks to an improving economy, ample financing and the appeal of new products. Several companies posted double-digit sales increases, including Chrysler (20%), Nissan (11.4%), Subaru (27%), Mazda (17.1%), Audi (11.9%), Porsche (12.6%), Mitsubishi (21.4%), Land Rover (15%) and last, but not least, Maserati, which was up 315%.

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“Incentive spending in July was above this year’s average, taking transaction prices down about one percent,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar. “Other than GM and Nissan, every full-line automaker increased incentive spending over last year. With growing discounts and low-interest financing readily available, it’s a great time to buy a car.” (more…)

Rental Car Companies Warned GM about Airbag Problems

Agencies asked maker to investigate strange crashes.

by on Jul.31, 2014

GM may have been told about its faulty ignition switches by rental car companies seven years ago after several unusual accidents.

One of the questions surrounding the faulty ignition switch controversy at General Motors is when did the automaker know there was a problem? It may have been at least seven years ago and the death toll related to those vehicles may rise as a result.

Two rental car companies sent notices to GM suggesting the automaker investigate fatal crashes where the airbags in the vehicles did not deploy – vehicles recalled by the maker this February, according to Bloomberg News.

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Seven years ago, an investigator for the parent of Alamo Rent A Car, Vanguard Car Rental USA, contacted GM to inquire about a fatal rollover accident in California. The driver was killed and the airbag failed to deploy in the Chevy Cobalt he was driving. (more…)