DETROIT -- Ask Harry Wilson what's wrong with General Motors, and his answers will contain familiar echoes -- of GM's own top executives.
Wilson, the former Obama administration auto task force member who surfaced this past week seeking a seat on GM's board and calling for an $8 billion stock buyback, believes GM is hurt by persistent mistrust among its suppliers, for example, which he says stifles innovation and profitability.
"Talk to suppliers," Wilson, a 43-year-old director at electronics and interiors supplier Visteon Corp., told Automotive News last week. "They'll argue that it's more or less the old GM."
Now here's GM product chief Mark Reuss on that subject last fall: "Ultimately, [suppliers] don't believe we absolutely value their contribution from an efficiency or technology standpoint."
Another example: Wilson doesn't think GM has done enough to reverse losses in Europe and Asian markets outside China. And he thinks GM must do a better job monetizing innovations such as OnStar. Both are among the top priorities for GM CEO Mary Barra and company.
Wilson's quest for a board seat is about far more than GM's inert $25 billion cash stockpile, he made known last week. But beyond that issue, Wilson and Barra's team essentially are saying the same things. Progress has been made since bankruptcy, but not enough and not quickly enough.