2021 ALL STAR | OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE
President, North America, General Motors
As the global microchip shortage pummeled production across the industry this year, Steve Carlisle and his team prioritized output of General Motors’ most profitable and in-demand vehicles.
Carlisle, president of GM North America, said in May that the automaker was “constantly prioritizing and re-prioritizing to protect” its full-size pickups and SUVs.
GM’s early call to sacrifice production of other vehicles to keep its cash cows rolling off assembly lines paid off. By shutting down plants that make lower-profit crossovers and sedans for months, GM could funnel its limited chip supplies to its most lucrative plants. Its full-size SUV plant in Arlington, Texas, has remained open without interruption, and its three full-size pickup plants have needed minimal downtime relative to those operated by competitors.
GM also simplified its portfolio by removing certain parts, such as a fuel-saving module, to get pickups to dealers and customers faster.
Carlisle, 59, and his team worked with dealers to determine which nameplates and configurations would sell best in their markets and relied on a tracking tool that showed dealers the status of their orders. Many dealers lined up buyers for vehicles while they were still in transit to the store.
Throughout the chip crisis, GM kept electric vehicle development on track, with the GMC Hummer pickup slated to launch before the end of the year and the Cadillac Lyriq crossover following in early 2022.
Carlisle has consistently communicated with GM’s dealer councils about the EV launches and oversaw customer reservation programs for the Lyriq, Hummer pickup and Hummer SUV.
GM plans to launch 30 EVs globally though 2025 and aspires to have a fully electric light-duty lineup by 2035. Still, Carlisle has maintained that GM will listen to the market and continue to enhance its internal combustion portfolio while executing its EV plans.
“I wouldn’t want anybody to think that we’re turning our back on ICE during the transition,” Carlisle said in May. “But we’re setting ourselves up for the [electrification] pivot at the same time.”