Is Mary Barra going to save General Motors?
No. According to one former GM executive who is now in a senior role at a rival auto maker, GM already thinks it’s fixed. The U.S. Government has been paid off, last week GM announced a $.30 (U.S.) per share dividend and Barra has moved into the CEO’s job in a seamless transition from former CEO Dan Akerson.
Yes, GM believes it’s fixed, said this well-connected executive, adding that if GM did look outside for an Akerson replacement, it was only a cursory scan of the executive landscape.
This idea that GM thinks it’s fixed is intriguing. The General is only 3.5 years removed from bankruptcy. Yes, the company has made progress on many fronts. The Impala is an excellent sedan and the new Corvette Stingray is the best super sports car dollar-for-dollar you can buy. But fixed?
If GM were fixed, the all-new 2014 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickups would be flying off dealer lots with no incentive help whatsoever. They’re not.
If GM were fixed, Cadillac would have a global footprint to match BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. It doesn’t.
If GM were fixed, its full lineup of Chevrolet cars would be a consistent collection of affordable cars – consistent in design, build quality, ride, comfort and overall presentation. They’re not.
Mary Barra needs to lead GM in fixing all that and more. Big job.
As for me, I first interviewed Barra three years ago in Detroit. Barra back then was the new head of product development, but she was not in great demand by reporters.
She was pleasant, but guarded. She seemed smart, but I did not take her for superstar CEO status. What do I know? I’m just a reporter who can’t quite see that GM is fixed.
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