News Cars Still Key to GM’s Global Business, CEO Barra Says

18:00  13 june  2018
18:00  13 june  2018 Source:

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General Motors CEO Mary Barra with a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze in a 2010 file photo (Photo: GM , Wieck). She said the creation of a national or global Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) database "would be incredibly helpful" in tracking cars that in some cases are now in the hands of their second

General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra said on Tuesday that she did not learn details about defective GM cars linked to 12 deaths until January 31, just two weeks after she took over as CEO and nearly 13 years after GM engineers first documented problems.

There was a bit of drama but no ducking questions at the 2018 General Motors annual meeting in Detroit where Chairman and CEO Mary Barra calmly updated shareholders on the company's business.

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General Motors (NYSE: GM ) 2017 Barclays Global Automotive Conference November 15, 2017 10:30 AM ET. Executives . Mary Barra - Chairman and CEO . And then given the rapid -- and basically do you think you'll still be selling gas powered cars to private owners by 2030?

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This includes a commitment to building cars. In a briefing ahead of the meeting, Barra told Motor Trend that as a global company, GM is not following crosstown rivals Ford and Fiat Chrysler in systematically pulling out of car segments.

Mary Barra holding a sign© Motor Trend Staff

"Although we are seeing a shift in the United States and in other markets, there still is a very big car market globally," Barra said. "We're well positioned because we reinvested in the 2015-2016 time frame in both compact and midsize vehicles so we have a very strong platform that we can continue to provide customers with what they want for a very long period of time." She later referenced investment in the Chevy Cruze and Malibu as key to keeping them relevant.

Globally the automaker's GEM (Global Emerging Markets) architecture is bringing new vehicles and technology to emerging markets, in many cases for the first time, Barra said.

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General Motors CEO Mary Barra in October 2015 at General Motors Global Headquarters in Detroit. 'Customer first'. GM still has to navigate the U. S . market’ s historic shift from cars to SUVs and trucks and the rise of technologies such as autonomous and electric vehicles and vehicle sharing.

Special Reports. Global Investing Hot Spots. Business of Design. Fixed Income Strategies. General Motors will begin testing driverless cars in a matter of "quarters not years," CEO Mary Barra said Tuesday.

But the real emphasis is on electric and autonomous vehicles.

GM is increasing production of the Chevrolet Bolt and plans to introduce 20 new all-electric vehicles by 2023 globally. GM continues to advocate for a single national standard for fuel efficiency requirements, wanting to avoid having to meet regulations for California that are more stringent than proposed federal CAFE regulations which the Trump Administration is expected to ease. But either way, GM is committed to an electric-vehicle future and would like to see EV tax credits extended.

The automaker is on pace to launch its self-driving ride-hailing fleet next year. The Cruise AV, which will not have a steering wheel or pedals, will be built at the Orion Assembly plant in Michigan.

a car parked in a parking lot© Motor Trend Staff

Last month, GM announced a partnership with SoftBank which is investing $2.25 billion in GM's self-driving ride-sharing technology. GM also acquired Strobe last year to bring down the cost of Lidar technology. GM uses Lidar in conjunction with cameras and radar to read the landscape for safe autonomous driving.

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Rumors have suggested Chevrolet could be preparing to drop several different models including the Impala and Sonic but GM CEO Mary Barra used this She went on to say both segments are still “significant” and the company views cars as an opportunity even though their popularity is declining.

Wall Street is recognizing GM's AV work, Barra said, including the fact the work is all being done under one roof. This work includes the development of the vehicle as well as the technology integration that involves modifying or changing 40 percent of the components to enable autonomous driving. And GM can mass produce the cars at the Orion Assembly Plant.

Ride-sharing was barely a topic of conversation five years ago, but today GM's Maven ride-sharing service continues to expand and Barra said its vehicles are being driven four times more than an average vehicle.

GM has pulled back from Lyft, the ride-sharing company in which it has a 9 percent stake. Barra said while she has faith in its founders, "right now, though, we have no active projects underway." After GM invested in Lyft in 2016, Ford announced its own collaboration last year for a fleet of self-driving vehicles by 2021.

On trade and tariffs affecting the auto industry, Barra said there are still a lot of moving pieces and negotiations, which are ongoing. "We need to let negotiations continue and be completed," she said.

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GM says it will name Mary Barra as its first ever female CEO . Barra is currently the company' s global head of product development. "While we have made good progress, we still have much work ahead of us to realize GM ' s full potential."

GM ' s latest CEO spent a year and a half as GM ' s head of human resources before moving on to be SVP of global product development in 2011. Her Main Objective: "No More Crappy Cars ". Barra says that's the main directive she gives to engineers and designers at the company.

Turning to the business of the annual meeting, a proposal to have an independent chairman was defeated, garnering only 35 percent of votes, meaning Barra will continue to hold the dual titles of chairman and CEO. A similar motion at the recent Tesla annual meeting also failed to remove the chairman title from CEO Elon Musk.

There was a moment of drama as two female protesters starting yelling, "What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now." They were asked to wait for the question period to make their point and when they refused the offer, they were escorted out of the meeting. A number of shareholders did use the question period to decry conditions at GM plants in Colombia, allegations which Barra said have been investigated and found to be untrue.

2019 Chevrolet Malibu 04© Motor Trend Staff 2019 Chevrolet Malibu 04

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