"No one could have predicted the challenges we have faced," GM CEO Mary Barra and President Mark Reuss, referencing the 2019 UAW strike and the coronavirus pandemic, told dealers in a note obtained by Automotive News, "but through it all, the North America team working under Barry has successfully launched key new products, strengthened our brands and helped position the company to deliver our vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion."
Under Engle's leadership, GM was the only one of the Detroit 3 to increase North American profits in the first quarter, earning six times as much as Ford Motor Co. in the region and more than quadrupling Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' results. Its U.S. sales declined 2.2 percent in Engle's first 12 months, a period that included the 40-day UAW strike and the early weeks of the pandemic.
Engle was CEO of Agility Fuel Systems, which manufactures clean energy storage, delivery and conversion systems for commercial automakers and fleets; Think, a Norwegian EV startup that later went out of business; and New Holland Agricultural Equipment, which serves the farming, utility and construction industries. He worked for Ford Motor Co. from 1992 to 2008, minus three years when he left to operate a Chrysler dealership in Utah.
As a former dealer, Engle earned the respect of auto retailers during his stint as GM's North America chief, forming strategies to resolve the pain points within their businesses and involving them in plans for the automaker's future. Especially over the past few months amid the pandemic, dealers said Engle was an excellent communicator and quick to improve GM's online sales tool.
Engle joined GM in 2015 as president of South America. He was promoted to president of GM International operations in 2017 and began leading North America when Alan Batey retired last year.
Engle was behind customer-facing innovations such as taking preorders for the midengine Chevrolet Corvette. Under his leadership, GM created customer-experience and dealership-operation divisions.