With nascent electric vehicle companies being hot commodities these, General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra’s plan to keep the company on track to expand its EV capabilities makes plenty of sense.
“EVs represent the key growth segment for General Motors,” she said during a web presentation for the RBC conference Monday. “We’re going to win in EVs and give our customers an amazing ownership experience.”
She noted the company allocated more than $20 billion in capital and engineering resources to EV and battery development, adding “We believe strongly in our EV future.”
Barra touched on several areas during her presentation and subsequent Q&A session, including commenting on something she’d been asked about during the auto company’s most recent earnings call: spinning off the company’s EV assets.
She noted the company wouldn’t do something like that for a short-term boost to its share price, but once again didn’t entirely dismiss the notion either. “As I’ve said many times, we will always do what’s in the best interest of our shareholders over the long term, not necessarily for a short-term pop,” she said.
A similar question was asked in July. Adam Jonas, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, asked Barra then about the impact, or lack thereof in terms of the stock price, of potentially changing the company’s name.
“Why not just change the name of the company?” he asked at the time. “The General Motors brand has done its job, but I’m wondering if it might not be out of touch with some of the really interesting directions your taking the business. Why not call the company Ultium?”
Barra noted the company’s executives had put some brain power to the issue, trying to find ways to put a little shine on the GM logo due to its technical prowess. She said that even a name change would be a possibility, however small, but it needs to make sense.
“When I look at a name change, and we’re going to make any changes necessary to drive the shareholder value because I still strongly believe in the technology and our future product plans as it relates to electrification, so that’s something we evaluate and look at when’s the right time and what are the proof points that everybody looks at” to take any type of massive action like a name change.
The question of finding a way to exploit the exciting side of GM’s business to benefit shareholders is clearly becoming something that GM officials are being forced to consider, although Barra said earlier that the interest “validates” the company’s plans.
In the meantime, the company is seeing progress in its return from pandemic-enforced shutdowns of its manufacturing operations and improving sales in its markets around the globe. In the U.S., she noted that production results were encouraging.
Barra said truck and SUV plants are running “all out” while other facilities are operating as expected. “We are selling every truck and SUV we can produce as demand remains strong and inventories remain lean.”