How General Motors is reinventing the auto industry – by meeting consumers’ needs

I’m Mary Barra. I’m CEO of General Motors. Our mission is to make GM the best place to work in the industry, to make our customers happy, and to do it profitably. We live by our motto: We know the car, and we love it. I firmly believe that we are on a path to lead the industry in electrification and autonomy.

As recently as a few months ago, General Motors had a very different mission statement, which has been described as “bankruptcy, a credit watch, $30 billion, and relentless marketing”. But now, the company has an entirely different history and a different business model, and this week it used its report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission to both explain how it’s changed and tell investors how it’s going to perform.

What’s been changed? Two words: Hybrid. And Detroit.

In the most important change, in General Motors, there’s a major step toward cutting fossil fuel use and mitigating the damage to the planet. It’s been at the forefront of GM’s restructuring for two decades now, and just two years ago, a convertible version of its Chevrolet Volt “electric car” became the company’s fastest-selling hybrid ever.

That’s also been true for the Cadillac ELR, which, while superficially a Cadillac, was also designed with the Volt in mind. Now, the electric truck I drove in in Detroit a few months ago will be sold alongside the Volt, and GM says it will offer more electrified vehicles down the road.

GM is also investing billions of dollars to both build and build electric and autonomous vehicles. Not surprisingly, the company has faced criticism for its plan to invest in America-made technology with less technology made in China. (Even while Tesla’s sales are dominated by the Chinese government, GM’s China-made vehicles outsell them.)

But I believe this strategy will help GM both win and win big. More, it will prove the capstone to a great decade for General Motors in investing in its vehicles and people, one in which I’ve had the great privilege of leading.

There’s much more to be said about the future of GM, especially about its decision to shift investments away from manufacturing in foreign countries.

My company and this industry are a magnet for skilled, highly-skilled workers who know the cars people love and want to buy. GM is working on a positive relationship with its workers, who not only create parts but make the vehicles that people trust. With increased investment, we’ll deliver the future we set out on in 2015.

America has been challenged over the last few years, but I’m glad we are on a path toward a prosperous future that honors our history, creates jobs and puts people to work, while advancing American values.

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