AD #1274 – Barra Becomes GM CEO, Ford’s Virtual Assembly Plant, NACOTY Predictions

December 10th, 2013 at 11:54am

Runtime: 6:59

- Barra Becomes GM CEO
- No More “Government Motors”
- It Could Have Been Worse
- Ford’s Virtual Assembly Plant
- NACOTY Predictions
- Autoline Executive of the Year

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily where we bring you the latest on some of the most important developments in the global automotive industry.

General Motors dropped a bombshell this morning, announcing that Mary Barra will become the next CEO starting next month. CFO Dan Ammann will now become president of the company. Mark Reuss will take over Barra’s job as the head of product development and purchasing, while Alan Batey will take over Reuss’s job as head of North American Operations. Steve Girsky, currently vice chairman, will leave the company in April, though he will remain on the board. Here’s my Autoline Insight. This is an historic announcement, with Barra being the first female CEO in the history of the automotive industry. I think this is a good move, as she has shown a knack for getting things done inside GM using a collaborative management style. And I like the other appointments as well. Current CEO Dan Akerson will win accolades for leaving GM in such a strong position. Reportedly, he decided to leave next month because his wife was diagnosed with cancer and we wish her well in her recovery.

But I think there’s another reason why Akerson knew it was the right time to leave. The US Treasury made if official yesterday. It sold off all the stock it owned in General Motors, which is now trading at about $40 a share. Merrill-Lynch believes that price could go higher if the company starts paying a dividend next year and starts buying back shares. It forecasts GM will post a $5.6 billion profit this year, growing to $9.2 billion in 2015. Now that GM has the “Government Motors” monkey off its back, that could bring more customers into its showrooms. However the Canadian government still owns about 7% of GM stock, and the UAW VEBA has 9%.

While taxpayers took a loss on the bailout of GM and Chrysler, a new study from the Center for Automotive Research says letting the companies fail would have cost a lot more money. The bailout saved about 1.5 million jobs in the U.S. and prevented the loss of $105 billion in personal and social insurance tax collections.

In an effort to improve communication, efficiency, globalization and standardization at its assembly plants, Ford is teaming with Siemens on a new pilot program. The software is called IntoSite and it’s a cloud-based web application that shows a 3D version of assembly plants that users can navigate through. It’s even detailed enough to see what’s in the parts bin at an individual work station. The system also allows for the upload and access of content from any location around the world. So if there’s an issue at a plant in Michigan that might fix a problem in Chongqing, China, a worker could upload a video or picture showing how to resolve the issue. The two companies have been working on the system for about a year, but it’s still strictly a pilot program, so no word yet on if it will actually be rolled out.

In just an hour or so the finalists will be announced for the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. I’m on the jury for that award, in fact, I’m one of the original members of the organizing committee that started the award 20 years ago. None of us on the jury know who the finalists will be, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to take a guess. So, my prediction for the three finalists for car of the year are, the Chevrolet Corvette, the Cadillac CTS and the Mazda3. My prediction for the truck finalists are the Chevy Silverado, the Jeep Cherokee and the Range Rover Sport.

Coming up next, I want to tell you about the next executive on our short list to win the Autoline Executive Of The Year award.

In two weeks time we’re going to announce the first recipient of the Autoline Executive of The Year Award. I’ve put together a blue ribbon panel of automotive experts and asked them to help me choose the one automotive executive, from any car company anywhere in the world, who stood out above all the others. For the past two months we’ve been arguing and debating the strengths and weaknesses of a number of execs. Yesterday I gave you our thoughts on Akio Toyoda, today we turn to the next exec who made our short list.

Subaru is an amazing car company. It just keeps on growing and growing and not by a small amount. The company sailed right through the Great Recession without slowing down at all, posting record sales and profits in the process. At a time when many believe that a car company needs to sell 6 million vehicles a year to get the scale it needs to compete, last year Subaru only sold about 750,000 vehicles.

But who is most responsible for Subaru’s success? Yasuyuki Yoshinaga is the CEO of Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru’s parent company in Japan. But even though it’s a Japanese company Subaru’s amazing success has largely happened in the U.S. market. The CEO of Subaru of America is Takeshi Tachimori, yet he’s only been in that position for a little over two years, and Subaru’s success started well before he got there.

And that’s why our discussions soon focused on Tom Doll, the president, chief operating officer and the CFO. He really runs all the operations at Subaru of America and has been with the company for over 30 years. So he’s no flash in the pan. Like I said, we’ll be announcing who the recipient of the Executive of the Year is at the end of next week, but Tom Doll is definitely on the short list.

And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching and you know, we’ll be right back here again tomorrow.

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75 Comments to “AD #1274 – Barra Becomes GM CEO, Ford’s Virtual Assembly Plant, NACOTY Predictions”

  1. Bradley Says:

    $10 Billion loss to the Tax Payers of the United States.

    Sure, one might be able to argue if every single GM employee went on Welfare, Unemployment, etc. It might have cost the Government more, but that is a valid argument.

    The majority of those employees would have found employment. Either by working for the new owner of GM’s assets or elsewhere. Only a small percentage would have hit that extreme.

    $10 Billion..what about all the Billions taken by the board of directors, executives, etc over the decades prior to the collapse? All that money could have been spent keeping the company viable.

    Business 101..plain and simple.

    Ms. Marry Barra if you can make people like me spend my money on your product, you will go down in history as the greatest CEO ever.

  2. Ron Paris Says:

    So if the GM bailout was such a great deal (for everyone except the US taxpayer!) and GM is currently sitting on $29B in cash, why were they not forced to make the Treasury whole on the $10.1B it lost in the deal?!

  3. Bradley Says:

    …isn’t a valid argument.

    it should say.

  4. Ron Paris Says:

    Bradley: Absolutely correct! And, not to take anything from Ms. Barra, her promotion smacks of political correctness that I’m sure the Obama administration had more than a little to do with before divesting itself of the remaining stock shares.

  5. M360 Says:

    One clear way to show that the “old boy’s club” is OUT and the new GM is IN, is to put a woman in the driver’s seat. So much for the better. We wish her well.

  6. Bradley Says:


    Exactly. If they have the cash, why not pay back every penny plus credit card level interest.

    That doesn’t completely make the situation correct, but I would stop soap boxing about it.

    Government should not bailout companies. PERIOD.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    Barra GM CEO, a filthy, despot like Castro shakes the hand of a freely elected US President, is this the Onion news?

  8. jesse Says:

    The bail out was a bad idea to start with that only got worse with the loss of 10.5 billion.Yet another example of fine governing…NOT!!

  9. HtG Says:

    Snark alert. I repeat, snark alert

    I’d like to know which warehouses the saintly and wise Solons at Ford were keeping their borrowed billions safe in during the crisis. Because the short term money markets sure weren’t keeping themselves from crumbling.

    The snark alert is over

    ps who the thinks $10 billion is a lot of money? The mighty Fed is still pumping $85B a month into the economy, keeping interest rates down to where Alan and Mary can even dream of selling cars. And who was it that even collapsed the financial markets in 08 so that there wasn’t any money to be borrowed by nobody?

  10. HtG Says:

    Actually, I don’t want to argue about the bailout. That’s not a compliment.

  11. cwolf Says:

    I agree,HtG. Although filing for bankruptcy is an option under normal economic conditions,it seems some forget the process takes a long time to complete; time that the country counld not endure. And like you said, there was NO money to borrow!

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The $10B “lost” in the GM bailout amounts to $33 per person in the US. We got a very good deal.

  13. Ron Paris Says:

    Speak for yourself Kit!

  14. HtG Says:

    12 We sore assed taxpayers didn’t even pay it, Kit. We authorized spending, errr borrowed it, and the Fed promptly moved the debt onto its balance sheet. Guess what the interest rate is? Not a lot. And the growing economy will eventually generate the capital to retire the debt.

    Lord what schmucks. You better ban me now, John, before I loosen up my knuckles.

  15. Bradley Says:


    Yes, bankruptcy takes time. It shouldn’t matter how long it takes, if it were fast then more companies would pull a GM.

    The reality is to run a company so that Wall-Street, board of directors and executives receive maximum possible return means there aren’t any reserves to weather the unforeseen. The money has to come from somewhere.

    The opposite of this is how our economy was during World War I. The United States’ involvement in WWI was entirely funded by loans from business. Why? Because the world was even more uncertain and companies took it upon themselves to ensure they could always create a future.

  16. cwolf Says:

    Choosing Mary Barra was a good move. As a quality oriented person,she had to collaborate closely with everyone in charge of the many facets within GM. And because she start from the bottom and worked her way up, she knows the business. Don’t underestimat Mary just because she’s a woman. You don’t get to the top by wearing short skirts and smelling pretty.

  17. Lex Says:

    Congratulations to Mary Barra in her new position as CEO of GM. I hope Ms. Barra will now have greater influence over GM Head Designer Ed Welburn concerning the exterior and interior designs of their vehicles. IMO the interiors of some GM vehicles are simple and beautiful while others are poorly laid out. The New Impala’s interior is just way too busy, while the outside is very elegant. Clean and simple is always better in my book.

    The first thing Mary Barra needs to do is hire Tom Doll away from Subaru! Subaru’s success is from it’s KISS philosophy inside and out on their vehicles. There are plenty of consumers looking for a quality built FWD / AWD vehicles that does not break the piggy bank. Subaru (Tom Doll) has broken this code and is giving his customers what they want at the right price. He has taken a small company and made it into a automotive (boutique) powerhouse. Their vehicles are not for everyone but Subaru brand especially in the snow belt is a household word. I nominate Tom Doll as Autoline Executive of the Year.

  18. HtG Says:

    Peter D. writes on his site that he’s aware some people are waiting to hear what he’s got to say about Mary B. getting the CEO job.

    He’s right about that.

  19. cwolf Says:

    Bradley, you’ll never comprehend. Just re-read #14. Just the last line of HtG’s comment will do.

  20. HtG Says:

    I’d love to drive a Subaru, but today I thoroughly enjoyed driving through our little snowstorm in our little dinky Nissan Versa. It’s nothing special, but on slick roads it’s stable and gets loose in a predictable way. Granted, HtG likes to imagine that he can drive a little bit. Just a little. YMMV

  21. cwolf Says:

    I don’t think DeLorenzo will find many kind words to say about Berra though he may not have followed her career with much attension. Now had she been GM’s head of marketing……!

  22. Jim Bianchi Says:

    Looks like you got 4 of the 6 NACOTY picks right, John. Impressive!

  23. Chuck @ GM Says:

    Not that some of you really care, but I am good with Mary Barra running this outfit. I was somewhat incredulous when they moved her from HR to Bob Lutz’s seat. But I had no idea about her background. She grew up wrenching the family auto with her dad. She started in a plant, and has risen through the ranks, successfully executing her responsibilities every step of the way. As for Dan Ackerson when he took over I was all “I hope there is a company I can retire from in a few years.” But the man made phenominal changes in the company, the way we do business. I don’t know how much is fair to share publically, so I will just say, there is a reason GM stock went from $18.85 at it’s lowest point post bankruptcy, to a little over $40 today. I suppose there are several conflicting theories why that is, but Dan’s leadership is the driver. It’s not the same GM it was before the bankruptcy.

  24. Lex Says:

    IMO the New Mustang is a coup version of the Ford Fusion. If you look hard at the side profile of the new Ford Mustang it also has a stiking resemblance to the Honda Accord Coup.

  25. Bradley Says:

    #14 and #19

    Wow, we’ll just have to disagree. Any plan that relies solely on growth is a bad plan. All that does is maximize profit over a short term.


    I don’t think GM would be successful pulling key people from other companies. I firmly believe these executives may at time make good decisions, but it takes a company of many and a culture to do it.

    The only benefit GM got from NUMMI is down in Brazil. That took a really long time and the persistence of a certain person.

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well. same could be said for a woman to be US Prez (not Palin) the men have not exactly done great for a long time, so why not give some lady a chance. I think Barra should do well if she remembers 4 little words: It’s the product, stupid!

  27. Bradley Says:


    I hope you are right. Not being the same GM…as another bailout would be a political disaster.

  28. Bradley Says:

    Who said we aren’t giving Mary Barra a chance?

    All the gripping has to do with whether you think that Covette in show rooms should still have a Chevrolet emblem or a Subaru emblem. (i.e. Subaru buys the Corvette from GM as GM crumbles in 2008 )

  29. Ed Says:

    For those of us at Delphi, most of us took a $1million dollar lifetime cut as our pensions, healthcare, and life insurance were whacked to allow GM to clear the GM Bankruptcy.

  30. Bradley Says:

    Oh I like that vision…

    2015 Subaru Covette – Now with a Flat Eight and AWD. Consider it a WRX times 2.

    *sorry couldn’t resist*

  31. Jon M Says:

    We’ll see said the zen master!

  32. John McElroy Says:

    (#22) Jim, I got 5 of the 6 NACTOY picks right! Funny thing is, I gave points to the Acura MDX, but guessed that my fellow jurors would go for the Range Rover Sport instead. Shoulda stuck to my own guns.

  33. HtG Says:

    Sorry Bradley, that I get so wound up about the bailouts. I think it’s important to recognize that the whole world was bailed out by govts and central bankers. Our Fed was quietly loaning trillions to sundry companies around the world because there was simply no lending going on. Deca-trillions in derivatives were prevented from blowing up and ruining the financial system. And on and on(looking at you AIG where millions of peoples’ pensions were kept). But to single out the GM/Chry bailout as a moral crime, well, that boggles my mind. Maybe it seems simple, but I wonder how far people would have liked to take their sense of economic justice.

  34. cwolf Says:

    The Vette has been getting all the media of late,so an added reason for being choase. But I predict the CTS will win the crown because it is an afforded Luxury American car that really has given the Germans something to worry about. All Mazda 3′s have been good cars, but just to be considered is prolly as far as they will go.

    The Chevy truck,as nice as they may be,is still rather a plane-jane truck in appearance. I think the Jeep gets the final nod.

  35. ColoradoKid Says:

    It Could of Been Worse – Wanna make a bet on that ?

    What a total abject crock of fertilizer ( the stats not ALD’s reporting of them )

    Simply put – First … there aren’t 1.5 million automotive jobs IN the US .

    Second ; 60 % of the current production and manufacturing jobs supposedly saved … will be lost over the next decade due to automation

    Third ; Read the NYTime WSJ articles on how much its COSTING each and every town with either a GM or a Chrysler plant in it ? Suffice it to say …. those towns are LOSING .. not making or even sustaining money

    Fourth ; ALL the bailouts in reality accomplished what with GM going down the tubes faster than a pig on a greased sliding board … Chrysler already being there … both in debt beyond reason … and both heading rapidly towards yet another round of bailouts …

    .. is to in FACT … delay the inevitable ..

    Fact is … when it comes to the automotive industries Australia’s the one getting it right . Stand on your own two feet or get the hell out of Dodge


    HtG – 32 – Sorry ole bean but err …. NO ONE has even come close to the extent of automotive bailouts as we have with Chrysler and GM …. Worldwide … and thats including the bailouts WE gave to ….

    VW – Audi

    NO ONE !

    Hell …. lets face it … we GAVE Chrysler to FIAT SpA !

    And don’t try and feed us the cock and bull excuse of ” Its cause our automotive industry is so big ”

    With upwards of 60% of content of all ‘ American ‘ automobiles being made in China Viet Nam Cambodia etc etc etc …. our ‘ industry isn’t .. as far as jobs are concerned …. that big at all

  36. Earl Says:

    Mary Barra is not an accountant,banker or attorney so she’s not bogged down. Now if she gives lots of space to the product and marketing people GM will really do well. But she just has to develop flow through hearing when she listens to a lot of those directors… in one ear and out the other.

  37. ColoradoKid Says:

    33 – The Vette …. is a pretentious C6 in C7 drag with a whole lot of Smoke & Mirrors on top to make the ignorant and uninformed believe its in reality … ‘ new ‘

    Fact is … same goes for the pretentious Chevy Colorado .. SSDD … new outfit from the Lady Gaga collection …

  38. ColoradoKid Says:

    Mary Barra as CEO

    A few simple questions one needs to ask

    1) What does an engineer know about Business ?

    Answer – Nothing . Fact is engineers are the single most insular and xenophobic head in the sand profession in existence . You ask an engineer … about Engineering …. and absolutely NOTHING else

    2) Why did GM place her in the CEO’s chair ?

    Answer ; No doubt in a vain and futile attempt to bolster their flagging public image

    3) Should we take Mz Barra’ ” Its whats in the showroom and not how you sell it ? ” comments seriously ?

    Hell no … just more SSDD lip service from GM

    4) In light of the fact that GM’s board ( bored ? ) has been calling the shots now going on ten years … how will they react to Mz Barra ?

    Answer ; They’ll run roughshod over her even more than they did Akerson …. with all aspects of GM’s SSDD and SNAFU remaining in place till the walls come down …

    So …. till the rubber meets the road and some real and significant changes come about with GM …. no need to be supportive of the new Girl in Town … till she actually EARNS it

    Nuff said

  39. ColoradoKid Says:

    35 – The fact that she’s an engineer bogs her down beyond comprehension if you know anything about the profession

    Old joke in the business world

    What is the one comment you’ll never hear when it comes to business ?

    Lets ask the engineers opinion on that


    Words well heeded … by the wise that is

  40. HtG Says:

    37.1) Barra has an MBA from Stanford. Mulally is an engineer with an MBA from MIT. Go over to AutoExtremist if you want to read someone rage.

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    #39 OUCH! If she ever decides to be interviewed by Autoline in the studio, I suppose Peter De will NOT be present!

  42. Steve Ashley Says:

    The only way Ms. Barra will be truly historic at GM is if she refunds all of the taxpayer monies that are now permanently lost. That is easy to do given their current level of profitability. Otherwise I will NEVER buy another GM product! This from a lifelong Chevy owner.
    Steve Ashley

  43. Bradley Says:

    No worries…it is a sensitive topic.

  44. Bradley Says:

    Yea, if Subaru would have bought the Corvette, then for the first time EVER, GM can correctly use the RS badge. I suppose, Opel has earned the RS badge, but definitely nothing ever sold in the United States.

    Rally Sport (RS) Subaru Corvette
    …complete with Love from Subaru

  45. GaryPaul Says:

    It looks like Dark days are arriving at GM with the arrival of Mary Barra as the new CEO.

    GM does not need a woman to be their CEO. We do not need to keep pushing this idea that we have to reach parity in male to female ratio of CEOs.

    And GM does not need another CEO who answers reasonable questions with vapid, fully evasive responses that indicate a lack of passion for product and a refusal to communicate thus guiding GM employees, & reassuring customers and yes the present or future stockholders.

    They need someone who is an effective leader and has a solid simple philosophy on how to guide a large automotive company in treacherous waters. They do not have to be an insider but they really need a clear cut set of goals, the energy and communication skills to impart them throughout the company & the tenacity to reach them… Does Barra have these skills?

    I recall Mary Barra being interviewed by the always polite & professional John McElroy, and how he tried to obtain substantive answers to his questions. I criticized her after that ridiculous vapid interview here in this forum, as I do now, as a one of the many GM mid-to-upper management personnel that did not get methodically ashcanned during the bankruptcy aftermath…

    …And just because someone has traversed into many positions throughout the company over the decades (as GM liked to do in the past when developing people to move into upper management positions), so that they know 100s of managers in diverse areas by name, does not guarantee that said individual has a clue about what should be the corporate guiding philosophy and major operating principles. You know–understandable foundations–like Alan Mulally’s “One Ford.”

    I give this new CEO a month from January 1st to make any sensible statements that are more than empty phrases. I expect to hear bell-ringers like these:

    **We all have to move forward, not backward, (stated with a big smile)or

    **The vicissitudes we have encountered indicate a difficult transition that needs to be handled with delicate extraordinariness lest we slide back into wishy-washyness, or

    **The zero-sum gain is not an appropriate option for GM decisiveness.

    I recall working at GM and listening to messages of so many talking heads at the top of the corporation that covey no direct meaning, and these vapid puffs of air are bad news because the employees, stockholders and customers don’t know what you are talking about. I also witnessed this at the shareholders meeting in January 2004 when “top management” refused to answer any of my questions, constantly stating that they knew what they were doing and heck there was no way they were going to tell a dang simpleton stockholder anything!

    In spite of this depressing new scenario the probability is high that GM will do well for a year or two under Barra’s leadership…Why? Because it takes a while for this additional impact of lame leadership to take effect. In addition if Barra leaves product development alone there won’t be irreparable damage to some of the GM product portfolio that shows promise, like the 2014 Cadillac CTS or the 2014 Corvette or likely, the 2016 Camaro…But eventually a string of lackluster (or in this case, below lackluster) CEOs will take their toll and start to affect product development… Again, I don’t expect GM to place a great CEO at the helm, or even a good one all the time, but there must be choices–even within GM–that are better than Barra!… What a woeful pick for GM’s next CEO.

  46. ColoradoKid Says:

    44 – Damn ! Well said good sir !!!!


    HtG – you made mention of what the world would look like if it were not for corporate bailouts / subsidies etc …

    Well maybe it’d look a bit like this

    A heck of a lot more profitable Subaru’s and a whole lot less parasitic GM’s , Chryslers VW-Audi’s etc

    More people growing food … doing / making and repairing things rather than pushing paper for alms while accomplishing exactly nothing

    No WalMarts Cheap Good etc with people finally needing understanding the value of money … not to mention placing quality over convenience .. not to mention the actual total overall cost ( money etc ) of goods sold

    A heck of a lot less waste in our dumping grounds

    etc etc etc

    Oh sure … there’d be a cost to pay initially …. but with the current trends being so unsustainable we’ll be paying that cost in spades the longer we hold off facing reality anyway

    So … the question is ;

    Pay the Piper a rather large painful sum now …. and get on with life

    Or Pay the Piper later … when the debts are so large it’ll crush us under its very existence … and may in fact bring civilization as we know it to its knees

    Cause either way … we’re gonna pay …

  47. cwolf Says:

    AaaHemmmm, GaryPaul

    You said if Barra leaves product development alone there won’t be irreparable damage to promising models, like the CTS. Well…Ms. Barra was head of global development in 2011 and credited with overseeing the Impala, Cadillac CTS and others. Maybe upper management didn’t answer your questions because they didn’t know what you were talking about.

  48. HtG Says:

    I thank god we didn’t find out if your scenario would have been the one that played out. It’s a normal business assumption to plan for multiple outcomes. I personally was sitting at home with stacks of hundreds as we went into Lehman Weekend. Maybe I didn’t even have the faith that the govt could un-detonate the bomb. I wasn’t the only one, CK.

    You know Paulson was throwing up, right?

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “A heck of a lot more profitable Subaru’s and a whole lot less parasitic GM’s , Chryslers VW-Audi’s etc”

    In the early days of autodom, we had “a heck of a lot of profitable ‘Subarus,” small car companies like Haynes, Jordan, Apperson, Cole, well, tens, or hundreds of them. By the end of the ’20′s, nearly all of them were gone. In the long term, the many small car companies didn’t keep the big companies from dominating the car biz. Neither would a hundred Subarus replace the biggies now.

    Regarding GM, though, I do find Peter D.L’s. take on Barra disturbing. While I don’t always agree with Peter, he knows the business, and regarding “inside the organization” stuff, I suspect he REALLY know the business. If Barra is as bad as Peter says, hopefully she will be gone in short order, before she can sabotage the continuation of GM’s impressive product onslaught.

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t really think the avg car-buying American gives a crap who is GM CEO or COO or whatever, just as long as they get a good product at a fair price that is not gonna fall apart way b4 the loan is paid up.

  51. HtG Says:

    I’m really sad about Mark Reuss not getting the CEO job. He’s a great representative for the company.

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    50, I just hope Mark stays around.

  53. cwolf Says:

    yeah, Reuss seems to be a real personal guy who loves cars. But if Barra is a team oriented person,future credits will be a result of many working collectively together as one. I’ll keep a wait and see attitude before any stones are cast prematurely. DeLorenzo said she had no part in the credits bestowed upon her,along with other negative remarks his “inner circle” friends shared. As I give weight to Barra’s accomplishments vs DeLorenzo’s twice-chewed info. scoop and his GM biases, I think I’ll it would be smart to give her a chance. What bothers me about media guys, like Peter, is the fact that his sources prolly tell him what he wants to hear or for there oun reasons. How do people win when they know they are behind or loosers?; They either hire a clever lawyer or hype the media! Even as knowledgable as Peter is, it is always good to take him with a grain of salt and to rely on common sense to guide you.

  54. HtG Says:

    Whatever he says though, Peter can write. It feels like the dam broke today, and all his restraint in Mark’s interests was loosed.

  55. GaryPaul Says:

    A reasonable point and I am a reasonable man. And if Barra is not who I believe she is, then we will soon see and i will be glad to see it…

    But this smacks of yet another move to place a woman into a position because she is a woman– and everyone is supposed to clap their hands over this. In a business this important–the auto industry–isn’t it critical that we choose the best people we can find to steer the ship? And if it’s a woman, OK.

    What I am trying to say is that Barra shows signs of being one of those GM talking heads who disrespects the customer (or future customer), the shareholder (or future shareholder) and the employees of GM. But I am willing to be proved wrong… That’s why I said let’s see what she says over the month of January, her first month in charge…

    If any of you have the time, why not listen to the interview that John did with her (if you can stand it). It’s an example of what i call the “GM Bamboozle” where it’s almost impossible to pin down anything that has substance–it’s talk without saying anything as though a lawyer told you to say anything you want as long as it’s meaningless. My knowledge of this type of talk about nothing comes from once interacting with so many of these types at GM (there were some darn good hard working folks there too–just too many of the Bamboozlers).

    What I am trying to say is that the real problem with Mary Barra is that GM Bamboozle. For example, I disagree with a number of points made by Bob Lutz but respect his overall honesty and emphasis on product exterior and interior design as almost holy. And heck–you could just understand the guy and see his passion for product even if he shot from the hip a few times, or you disagreed with him! And yes–Even Bob Lutz although near or in retirement, would make me a lot happier if he was the next CEO for a year or two!

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I guess we don’t know if Mark even wanted the CEO job, but everyone assumes he did.

  57. HtG Says:

    55 Peter said MR endured a towering silo load of sh.t. There’s one reason for that.

  58. cwolf Says:

    I now know where you are coming from, GaryPaul. I do remember her interview and, too, though she said a whole lot of nothin. I have a hunch this lady displays her teeth behind closed doors if’n needed, but prefers those willing to share the same goals, even if not their own.

  59. HtG Says:

    I’m recalling something MR said at the Corvette launch last year; that the C7 is why he works at GM. I thought it was an odd construction at the time, but could he have been chafing?

  60. cwolf Says:

    John Mc:
    Try to find out if M. Barra is a car nut of any kind, what she drives and if she has a small collection. It will tell alot about her.

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Exactly. To paraphrase a Bill Clinton aide in 1992, “it’s the product stupid,”

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    56, 58
    Hmm… yeah…

  63. Ziggy Says:

    It is good that PDL thinks Barra is bad, because Peter is usually wrong about everything he spouts out about. So GM should do just fine with her at the helm.

    A question for CK: what profession do you claim since you are so against engineers? I’ll bet lawyer, since you are so full of hot air and so enthralled with yourself. Am I close?

  64. Josu Says:

    #37 ColoradoKid is really serious what you said about engineers running car companies?
    How about Ferdinand Piech, or Alan Mulally?
    All german car companies ceos are engineers. Sohichiro Honda was an engineer, its most succesful sucessor Nobuhiro Kawamoto, is an engineer. Porsche was founded by an engineer. C’mon, Apple Computer CEO is an engineer, and he was the real manager of the company well before Steve Jobs resigned.
    No guy, you are dead wrong, engineers have prove to be the most succesful managers of car companies in the world, period. By the way, by training I’m a marketing guy not an engineer.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    62, CK is a musician.

  66. cwolf Says:

    And as many have observed and as a result, CK is at times full of hot air! Funn’in! Couldn’t resist!

  67. Buzzerd Says:

    @65 – him and his invisible friends or er contacts, what ever.

  68. GaryPaul Says:

    Check out Peter M. De Lorenzo’s column @ regarding the appointment of Mary Barra. It summarizes this scenario…

    If Peter is right about Mary Barra coming from HR (Human Resources), it is more evidence of the pathetic nature of this selection. I can tell you that in companies like GM, HR is perhaps the most arrogant, pushy section of the company, packed often former secretaries, who love to throw their weight around. I recall a new employee of mine that I was training and how excellent he was at responding to technical customer queries (at ACDelco GM’s aftermarket parts division). He wrote competently and with technical authority as he was an ASE Certified mechanic. I was quite pleased–we had a good new man at last. One day a few weeks later, I came into work and his desk was moved and his belongings gone. I asked where he was and HR said he was fired because he could not find his High School Diploma. That was it…Wait it gets better…I advised them that he was working directly under my supervision & he was doing the job perfectly. They said no one was hired without a high school degree. I went to my boss and he said there was nothing he could do. This was what it was like. But wait–it gets better. The HR Department claimed that they needed a woman to take his place and they sent me a girl WHO COULD NOT TYPE A COMPLETE SENTENCE AND DID NOT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DEFINITE OR INDEFINITE ARTICLE –AND HECK WHY USE “THE” OR “A” IN A SENTENCE ANYWAY, right? She was sending horrific replies to the customer so I stopped that immediately and had to train her how to type a complete sentence. But wait it gets better…this girl also KNEW NOTHING ABOUT AUTOMOBILES and was assigned to work answering technical questions about autos. etc etc etc. But at least HR was keeping a proper ratio of females to males…

    Now you know why working with or for GM is something I refuse to do. This ridiculous scenario is all over GM.

    Anyway, enough already. I hope this new CEO is better than I think but I have seen this kind of substandard nonsense pass as a fine new era for GM and the world again and again and again and again. So yeah–I am a bit perturbed…

  69. Chuck Grenci Says:

    While I feel Mark Reuss would have been the best choice for GM, Mary Barra also seems ‘sound’ to me as well. And I’m certainly not going to condemn her before she has had a chance to show me/us what she can and can not do. Seems some here have 20/20 hindsight (as well as 20/20 foresight); doubtful.

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Barra was global HR vice president for a while, but her other assignments included GM vice president of global manufacturing engineering; Detroit Hamtramck Assembly plant manager; executive director of competitive operations engineering; and has held several engineering and staff positions.

    This info came from:

  71. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Barra has been “responsible for the design, engineering, program management and quality of General Motors vehicles around the world” for about 3 years, nearly twice as long as she had the HR job.

    Anyway, I’m willing to wait and see how things go with her, and I’m hoping they go well.

  72. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @69 & 70 – And she excelled in all of those.

    And she is a “Car Guy/Girl” and has been all her life.

  73. Drew Says:

    A female as GM CEO??

    Are you telling me that there were NO more qualified regular while males to take this position?

    Political correctness at it’s finest (or worst).
    Next will be a black, then a latino just for the sake of fulfilling quotas.

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Why don’t you people just give her a chance, and see how she does? Jeesh…

  75. Rick Says:

    That whole bail out was a disaster from a financial standpoint and was done purely for political reasons. Bankruptcy for GM would have meant corporate restructuring like has occurred with the airline industry time and again, and GM would have come out a stronger company today for it.