DETROIT — Before the coronavirus outbreak hit the U.S. in March, General Motors' North American team had four major initiatives for the year: grow retail share, prepare for an electric vehicle future, improve dealer relations and enhance the customer experience.
The crisis led to plunging sales, significant financial losses and a nearly two-month production shutdown. Despite the business strain, GM has barely adjusted its to-do list, said Barry Engle, GM's president of North America.
"The fact that we were able to accelerate our progress in each of these four areas was a reinforcement that we were on the right track," Engle said. "If we concluded that we needed a whole new set of priorities, it would have thrown into question, do we really have the right long-term strategies in the first place? But if anything, it just reaffirmed we're on the right track."
Engle, 56, spoke last month with Staff Reporter Hannah Lutz about the company's coronavirus response, pickup sales, EV future and more. Here are edited excerpts.