More goals set
Other highlights of the strategic plan include:
- New vehicle architectures: GM is developing new platforms of interchangeable components to cut costs. By 2020, it expects 11 of these “vehicle sets” to account for 99% of its global production. Currently, GM uses 14 core architectures for about 75 percent of its global volume. By 2025, GM hopes it will use just four vehicle sets. The move is similar to the global architectures that Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG have been rolling out for the last several years.
- Improved supplier ties: GM aims to improve relations with suppliers by sharing the risk of launching new programs and sticking to volume commitments. "We want to be the most desired company for dealerships, the most desired for suppliers," Barra said.
- Buffing up brands: GM hopes to improve the image and desirability of its brands. “We know our products don’t command the prices they should because of issues with the brands,” Barra said. She added that GM is going to work to boost the image of Chevrolet, with the goal of making it one of the top 10 global brands in rankings by Interbrand, a major marketing consultancy. Cadillac will buff its image by becoming a leader in safety and technology, she added.
- Capitalizing on megatrends: Barra said the auto industry is being reshaped by rapidly changing technology, emerging markets, increasing environmental requirements and shifting consumer needs. Automated driving technology, for example, will change how people use and relate to their cars, while about half of the world’s population still does not own a vehicle. “We believe this industry will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 50,” GM President Dan Ammann said.
- New product: GM has “an absolute onslaught of product coming” that is “key to driving the growth equation,” Ammann said. GM will launch vehicles in new segments, such as the new midsize truck hitting dealerships this fall. These segment-opening vehicles “should add a couple hundred thousand units [of sales] at least,” he said. They will be followed in the 2015-16 time frame by updates to high-volume vehicles such as the Chevy Cruze, Malibu and Equinox. Ammann said the new models will be more profitable than their predecessors.
- Customer loyalty: In the U.S. and other mature markets, GM wants to do a better job of retaining customers, mainly by connecting with them through technology like on-board 4G LTE broadband. Ammann noted that GM already has seven million connected customers through OnStar, and can offer them personal interactions through GM’s call centers, which employ 8,000 operators -- a force no other auto maker has in house.
“We want to redefine how we engage with the customer,” Ammann said, adding that GM expects to see “pretty significant results” soon in improved loyalty.