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General Motors Corporation
Public (NYSE
Industry Automotive
Founded 1908
Founder William C. Durant
Headquarters Detroit, Michigan, United States
Key people
Rick Wagoner, chairman and CEO
Robert Lutz, vice chairman
Frederick Henderson, President and chief operating officer
Ray Young, CFO
Products Automobiles
Engines
Financial services
Revenue Decrease[1]US$181 billion(2007)[2][3][4][5]
Decrease-$38.7 billion (2007)[6]
Number of employees
284,000 (2007)[7]
Website www.gm.com

General Motors Corporation, also known as GM, is a multinational corporation headquartered in the United States. GM is the world's largest automaker and has been the global industry sales leader in each of the last 77 calendar years, although Toyota recorded higher sales figures in the first quarter of 2008.[8] Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 284,000 people around the world. It manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 different countries and sells them under the brands of Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GM Daewoo, GMC, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall.[9] As of 2007, General Motors is the fifth largest company in the world (behind Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and British Petroleum.)

Company overview[edit]

General Motors was founded 1908, in Flint, Michigan and currently employs approximately 284,000 people around the world. GM's global headquarters is the Renaissance Center located in Detroit, Michigan, USA, They currently manufacture their cars and trucks in 35 different countries. Its European headquarters are based in Zurich, Switzerland, and its Holden headquarters are located in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. In 2007, 9.37 million GM cars and trucks were produced globally under the following 12 brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GM Daewoo, GMC, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM is also the majority shareholder in GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. of South Korea and has had many collaborations with the world's various automakers. This includes product, powertrain and purchasing collaborations with Suzuki Motor Corp. and Isuzu Motors Ltd. of Japan, advanced technology collaborations with Toyota Corporation and DaimlerChrysler AG and BMW AG of Germany and vehicle manufacturing ventures with several of the world's automakers including Toyota, Suzuki, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. of China, AvtoVAZ of Russia, Renault SA of France, and most recently, UzAvtosanoa of Uzbekistan. GM also had collaborations with Fiat S.p.A (see GM/Fiat Premium platform) and Ford Motor Company. To this day, GM retains various stakes in many different automakers.

GM parts and accessories are sold under GM Performance Parts, GM Goodwrench and ACDelco brands through GM Service and Parts Operations which supplies GM dealerships and distributors worldwide. GM engines and transmissions are marketed through GM Powertrain. GM's largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany. GM owns nearly-half (49%) of the finance company GMAC Financial Services, which offers automotive, residential and commercial financing and insurance. GM's OnStar subsidiary is a vehicle safety, security and information service provider.

There have only been a limited number of models bearing the General Motors brand. The GM EV1 was an electric vehicle that was offered for lease only in the 1990's, before being unceremoniously scrapped. The Holden Statesman (1971 - 1985) was originally marketed as the General Motors statesman.

History[edit]

General Motors (GM) was founded on September 16, 1908 in Flint, Michigan, as a holding company for Buick, then controlled by William C. Durant, and acquired Oldsmobile later that year. The next year, Durant brought in Cadillac, Elmore, Oakland (later known as Pontiac) and several others. In 1909, General Motors acquired the Reliance Motor Truck Company of Owosso, Michigan, and the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company of Pontiac, Michigan, the predecessors of GMC Truck. Durant lost control of GM in 1910 to a bankers' trust, because of the large amount of debt taken on in its acquisitions coupled with a collapse in new vehicle sales. A few years later, Durant would start the Chevrolet Motor car company and through this he secretly purchased a controlling interest in GM. Durant took back control of the company after one of the most dramatic proxy wars in American business history. Shortly after, he again lost control for good after the new vehicle market collapsed. Alfred Sloan was picked to take charge of the corporation and led it to its post war global dominance. This unprecedented growth of GM would last through the late 70's and into the early 80's.

The General Motors Aftermarket Business in the US manages four brands; Goodwrench, ACDelco, GM Performance Parts and GM Accessories. GM Aftersales operates globally.

Corporate governance[edit]

The Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, is General Motors' world headquarters

Current members of the board of Directors of General Motors are: Percy Barnevik, Erskine Bowles, John Bryan, Armando Codina, Erroll Davis, George Fisher, Karen Katen, Kent Kresa, Ellen Kullman, Philip Laskawy, Kathryn V. Marinello, Eckhard Pfeiffer, and Rick Wagoner who also serves as chairman of the board.

Corporate structure[edit]

General Motors is structured into the following groups:

  • GMAP - Asia-Pacific
  • GME - Europe
  • GM LAAM - Latin America, Africa and the Middle East
  • GMNA - North America
  • GMAC Finance and insurance services
  • SPO Service, Parts and Operations
  • Other Operations

Online[edit]

The domain gm.com attracted at least 7 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com survey.

Human resources[edit]

UAW-GM Center for Human Resources in Detroit.

General Motors was named one of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" in 2004 by Working Mothers magazine. GM has also given millions of dollars in computers to colleges of Engineering through its PACE Awards program.[10] Together with the United Auto Workers, GM created a joint venture dedicated to the quality of life needs of employees in 1985. The UAW-GM Center for human resources in Detroit is dedicated to providing GM salaried employees and GM UAW members programs and services related to medical care, diversity issues, education, training and tuition assistance, as well as programs related to work and family concerns, in addition to the traditional union-employer health and safety partnership.[11]

Marketing in the United States[edit]

At one time, each of GM's automotive divisions in the United States were targeted to specific market segments and despite some shared components, each distinguished itself from its stablemates with unique styling and technology. The shared components and common corporate management created substantial economies of scale, while the distinctions between the divisions created an orderly upgrade path, with an entry-level buyer starting out with a practical and economical Chevrolet and moving through offerings of the different divisions until the purchase of a Buick or Cadillac.

The postwar automobile industry became enamoured with the concept of "planned obsolescence", implemented by both technical and styling innovations with a typical 3-year product cycle. In this cycle, a new basic body shell is introduced and then modified for the next two years with minor styling changes. GM, Ford, and Chrysler competed vigorously in this new restyling environment.

Distinguishing the brands[edit]

By 1958, the divisional distinctions within GM began to blur with the availability of high-performance engines in Chevrolets and Pontiacs. The introduction of higher trim models such as the Chevrolet Impala and Pontiac Bonneville priced in line with some Oldsmobile and Buick offerings was also confusing to consumers. By the time Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick introduced similarly styled and priced compact models in 1961, the old "step-up" structure between the divisions was nearly over.

Compacts arrive[edit]

The decade of the 1960s saw the creation of compact and intermediate classes. The Chevrolet Corvair was a 6-cylinder answer to the Volkswagen Beetle, the Chevy II was created to match Ford's conventional Falcon and the Chevrolet Camaro/Pontiac Firebird was GMs counter measure to the Ford Mustang. Among intermediates, the Oldsmobile Cutlass nameplate became so popular during the 1970s that Oldsmobile applied the Cutlass name to most of its products in the 1980s. By the mid 1960s, most of GM's vehicles were built on a few common platforms and in the 1970s GM began to use nearly identical body panel stampings, differing only in internal and external trim items.

The 1971 Chevrolet Vega was GM's launch into the new subcompact class. Problems associated with its innovative aluminum engines would damage GMs reputation more than perhaps any other vehicle in its history. During the late 1970s, GM would initiate a wave of downsizing starting with the Chevrolet Caprice which was reborn into what was the size of the Chevrolet Chevelle, the Malibu would be the size of the Nova, and the Nova was replaced by the troubled front-wheel drive Chevrolet Citation.

Rebadging era[edit]

By the 1980s, GM frequently "rebadged" one division's successful vehicle into several models across the divisions, all positioned close to one another in the market place. Thus a new GM model's main competition might be another model spawned off the same platform. This led to market "cannibalization" with the divisions spending time stealing sales from one another. Even today, the company's GMT360 mid-sized light truck platform has spawned the basic Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Oldsmobile Bravada, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender, Buick Rainier and Saab 9-7X. Though each model had a more or less distinct mission, the trucks can hardly be discerned from one another.

GM in the new century[edit]

In the late 1990s, the U.S. economy was on the rise and GM and Ford gained market share producing enormous profits primarily from the sale of light trucks and sport-utility vehicles. From 2000 to 2001, the Federal Reserve in a move to quell the stock market, made twelve successive interest rate increases. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, a severe stock market decline caused a pension and benefit fund underfunding crisis. GM began its Keep America Rolling campaign, which boosted sales, and other auto makers were forced to follow suit. The U.S. automakers saw sales increase to leverage costs as gross margins deteriorated. Although retiree health care costs remain a significant issue, General Motors' investment strategy has generated a $17.1 billion surplus in 2007 in its $101 billion U.S. pension fund portfolio, a $35 billion reversal from its $17.8 billion of underfunding.[12]

In 2004, GM redirected resources from the development of new sedans to an accelerated refurbishment of their light trucks and SUVs for introduction as 2007 models in early 2006. Shortly after this decision, fuel prices increased by over 50% and this in turn affected both the trade-in value of used vehicles and the perceived desirability of new offerings in these market segments. The current marketing plan is to extensively tout these revised vehicles as offering the best fuel economy in their class (of vehicle). GM claims its hybrid trucks will have gas-mileage improvements of 25%.

In the summer of 2005, GM announced that its corporate chrome emblem "Mark of Excellence" will begin appearing on all recently introduced and all-new 2006 model vehicles produced and sold in North America. The move is seen as an attempt by GM to link its name and vehicle brands more closely.

In 2005, GM promoted sales through an employee discount to all buyers. Marketed as the lowest possible price, GM cleared an inventory buildup of 2005 models to make way for its 2006 lineup. While the promotion was a temporary shot in the arm for sales, it did not help the company's bottom line. GM has since changed its marketing strategy to a no haggle sticker policy in which all vehicle prices are lowered, but incentives are reduced, if not eliminated.

GM in China[edit]

General Motors is the best selling auto maker in China.[13] The Buick brand is especially strong, led by the Buick Excelle subcompact. Cadillac initiated sales in China in 2004, starting with imports from the United States. GM pushed the marketing of the Chevrolet brand in China in 2005 as well, moving the former Buick Sail to that marque. The company manufactures most of its China-market vehicles locally, through its Shanghai GM joint venture. Shanghai GM, a joint venture between the Chinese company SAIC and General Motors, was created on March 25, 1997. The Shanghai GM plant was opened December 15, 1998 when the first Chinese-built Buick came off the assembly line. The SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile joint-venture is also successful selling trucks and vans under the Wuling marque.GM plans to create a research facility in Shanghai for $250m to develop hybrid cars and alternative energy vehicles.[14]

Subsidies[edit]

In March 2005, the Government of Canada provided C$200 million in incentives to General Motors for its Ontario plants to expand production and provide jobs, according to Jim Harris. Similar incentives were promised to non-North American auto companies like Toyota, Premier Dalton McGuinty said the money the province and Ottawa are pledging for the project is well-spent.

Labor relations[edit]

On September 24, 2007 General Motors workers represented by the United Auto Workers union went on the first nationwide strike against GM since 1970. The ripple effect of the strike reached into Canada the following day as two car assembly plants and a transmission facility were forced to close. However, overnight a tentative agreement was reached and UAW officials declared the end of the strike in a news conference at 4 a.m. on September 26. By the following day, all GM workers in both countries were back to work.

Outcome of strike[edit]

A new labor contract was ratified by UAW members exactly one week after the tentative agreement was reached, passing by a majority 62% vote. In the contract are several product and employment guarantees stretching well into the next decade. One of GM's key future products, the Chevy Volt, was promised to the GM Poletown/Detroit-Hamtramack plant in 2010. Also included is a VEBA (Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association) which will transfer retiree health care obligations to the UAW by 2010. This eliminates more than 50 billion dollars from GM's healthcare tab. It will be funded by 30 billion in cash and 1.4 billion in GM stock paid to the UAW over the next 4 years of the contract. It also eliminates 70% of the labor cost gap with GM's Japanese rivals.

Auto racing[edit]

General Motors has an extensive history in numerous forms of racing. Vehicles of most, if not all, of GM's brands have been represented in competition, with perhaps Chevrolet being the most prominent. In particular, the Chevrolet Corvette has long been popular and successful in international road racing. GM also is a supplier of racing components, such as engines, transmissions, and electronics.

GM's Oldsmobile Aurora engine platform was successful in open-wheel Indy-style racing throughout the 1990s, winning many races in the small V-8 class. An unmodified Aurora V-8 in the Aerotech, captured 47 world records, including the record for speed endurance in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Recently, the Cadillac V-Series has entered motorsports racing. GM has also used many cars in the American racing series NASCAR. Currently the Chevrolet Impala is the only entry in the series but in the past the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Regal, Oldsmobile Cutlass, Chevrolet Lumina, Chevrolet Malibu, and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo were also used.

In touring cars (mainly in Europe) Vauxhall is a key player and former champion in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) series and competes with a Vauxhall Vectra in Super 2000 spec. Opel used to participate in the DTM series. Chevrolet competes with a Lacetti in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC).

In Australia, there is the prestigious V8 Supercar Championship which is battled out by the two main rivals of Holden& Ford. The current Holden Racing Team cars are based on the Holden Commodore and run a 5.0-litre V8-cylinder engine producing 650+BHP (approx 480 kW Power) @ 7500 rpm). These cars have a top speed of 300+km/h (185 mph) and run 0-100 km/h in less than 4 seconds. The Holden Racing Team is Australia's most successful team in Australian Touring Car History. In 2007 the Drivers championship was won by the very closely linked HSV Dealer Team

Development of Electronics for GM Auto Racing[edit]

In 1986, the GM Motorsports group asked Delco Electronics Corporation, a subsidiary of GM Hughes Electronics (headquarters - Kokomo, IN) if an electronic engine management system could be developed for the Chevy Indy V8 engines used in the CART open wheel racers. Delco Electronics had been supplying all GM automobiles sold in the USA with Engine Control Modules (ECMs) since 1981 when the USA Clean Air Act required 3-way catalytic converters and controlled air-fuel ratios. The production ECMs were becoming more complex, and were becoming powertrain controllers controlling the transmission, spark timing, Idle speed, as well as air-fuel intake mixtures.

Delco Electronics used a small group of electronic designers and technicians at their facility in Goleta, CA (near Santa Barbara, CA) to do special assignable projects that were advanced or more state of the art. This facility was called Delco Systems Operations (formerly known as GM Defense Research Labs), a part of Delco Electronics Corporation at the time. Delco Systems Operations is the place where the Apollo Program's Lunar Rover Mobility Sub-system[15] was developed and built, also the Apollo Program's guidance computers (Apollo PGNCS) and the Boeing 747 guidance computers (Delco Carousel IV) were developed and manufactured there. All Delco Electronics Motorsports products developed before 1994 were designed by this group. From 1994 to present, this activity is at Delco Electronics/Delphi in Kokomo, IN.

The first generation of engine management controller for CART racing used a modified production ECM, but performed poorly in the race car due to the harsh EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) environment. This version was never used in racing, but the experience gained enabled the engineers to design a more successful Generation 2 controller for use in the 1988 CART series.

Practice at Phoenix 1988. Mario Illien introduces the Gen II to Mario Andretti

Generation 2 controllers were used experimentally by the Newman-Haas Racing team in 1988 and the first win was in the Cleveland CART race with Mario Andretti driving.

In 1989 Newman-Haas Racing, Penske Racing, and Patrick Racing teams used Delco Electronics Gen-2 controllers with the Ilmor Chevy Indy V8 engine. "By the start of the 1989 season, racing pundits recognized that Chevrolet, with its Ilmor Engineering engines and Delco Electronics equipment, had assembled perhaps the most potent racing power in the history of the sport. As the season got under way in April, the pattern of winning began. Racing's elite drivers -- Unser junior and senior, Fittipaldi, Rick Mears, and Mario Andretti -- were driving the best equipment in the world.

The results began to show early on. By October, Chevy engines with DE equipment had won 13 of the 15 (CART) races.

DSO Motorsports Management Group & Friends Watching the 1989 Indy 500 at Butler's Pizza in Goleta, CA

When Emerson Fittipaldi crossed the finish line to win the 1989 Indianapolis 500, racing fans witnessed history being made. Fans thrilled to the neck-and-neck finish between Fittipaldi and Al Unser Jr. who went spinning on lap 198 after brushing tires with Emmo, and the 43-year-old Barazilian had his first Indianapolis 500 win. Fittipaldi's victory -- in a Chevrolet Indy V8 engine controlled by a Delco Electronics electronic engine control module (ECM) -- was the first time in the 500's storied history that the engine of the winning vehicle was controlled by an electronic engine management system"[16]

File:Gen-2 Conroller that was in the 1989 Indy 500 Winning Car.jpg
Gen-2 Conroller that was in the 1989 Indy 500 Winning Car

For the 1990 season, all teams using the Ilmor Chey Indy V8 were provided a redesigned Gen-3 system and it won 15 poles, 16 wins including the 1990 Indianapolis 500, with 17 races in the CART series. To prove the system, the components were used with GM engines in the Trans-Am Racing series during 1989.

In the 1991 CART season, Gen-3 had a perfect score: 17 poles, 17 wins, 17 races including the 1991 Indianapolis 500. At the 1991 Indianapolis 500, Delco Electronics introduced telemetry to the electronic system using the advanced spread spectrum radio technology[17] . It was so popular that all CART teams eventually used it, and many still use it. ABC TV used the data from the systems to display real time data with ABC's in-car video cameras.

In 1990 and 1991, the Chevy engine with the Delco Electronics Gen-3 controller won 33 straight CART events. Chevy's dominance proved electronics had found their place in CART racing.

In the 1992 CART season, race cars with Gen-3 captured 7 poles, 11 wins including the 1992 Indianapolis 500, in 16 races.

For the 1993 CART season, Delco Electronics had been developing a smaller more powerful controller using 32-bit computers and a high-level software language called Modula-GM. This system was called Gen-4 and won much praise for its improved functions and features. The telemetry system developed for the 1992 season was used, and a new Distributorless Ignition module component was added to the overall engine management system. 10 wins including the 1993 Indianapolis 500 in 16 CART races.

Left to Right Gen-4, Gen-3, Gen-2, & Gen-1 Delco Electronics Motorsport Engine Control Modules

In 1994, a totally new Ilmor engine was introduced to CART teams and the engine controller was Delco Electronics Gen-4: 12 wins including the 1994 Indianapolis 500, 16 races.

In 1995, Gen-4 won 6 races out of 17.

In 1996, the Indy Racing League (IRL) split from CART and used the naturally aspirated Oldsmobile Aurora engine which used the Delco Electronics Gen-4 system until the engine was retired from IRL service a few years ago. 1997 was the last year the Gen-4 ran in the CART season.

Per a February 27, 2003 Delphi Press Release[18], Delphi's current involvement in open wheel racing is as follows:

"Delphi is the official electronics provider to the IRL and has been involved in open-wheel racing since 1988. Today, a majority of the vehicles in the IRL are equipped with several of Delphi's racing products including:

  • Delphi Earpiece Sensor System - measures dynamic forces to a driver's head during an accident. It uses small sensors integrated into the left and right radio earpieces worn by the driver. The six accelerometers -- one for each of the three axes on each side -- measure acceleration in the X, Y and Z axes during an accident. The combined data from the earpiece sensor system and onboard accident data recorder provide accident researchers valuable data for a clearer picture of what happens during a crash.
  • Accident Data Recorder (ADR2) - senses and records key vehicle parameters at 1,000 samples per second just prior to, during, and after an accident-triggering event.
  • Track Condition Radio - helps alert drivers with critical information by transmitting messages from race control to the racecar. A dash-mounted display communicates messages including safety warnings, track condition and pits opened/closed.
  • Radio Telemetry Module - transmits engine and chassis data from a speeding racecar to race team engineers located in the pits. The telemetry module helps enhance driver safety and race team strategy by making real-time data available.
  • Multec(R) Bottom Feed Methanol Electronic Fuel Injector - provides a high flow rate and a low profile package that are ideal for port fuel racing applications. The injector is able to operate at high temperatures and provide a high level of spray atomization.
  • Connectors, Cables and Terminals - connectors are coupling devices that provide an electrical and mechanical connection/disconnection in a system. Cables are insulated electrical conductors. Terminals are devices attached to the end of a wire to facilitate electrical connections. All of these Delphi components enable a vehicle's electrical/electronic system to function under the tough conditions in racing.

Delphi also has begun offering services to the racing industry, including Hydraulic Sled Testing from its state-of-the-art testing laboratory in Vandalia, Ohio. Delphi provides comprehensive safety testing using a hydraulic test sled to simulate a crash. Services include on-board data acquisition, on- and off-board digital video monitoring and the use of Delphi safety products such as the earpiece sensor system and accident data recorder."

Awards for this program:

Louis Schwitzer Awards for Engineering Excellence (since 1967):

1994: Mario Illien, Mercedes 209 CID Engine with Delco Electronics Gen-4 controller (Also won in 1986 for Ilmor-Chevrolet Engine that used Gen-2, 3, & 4 controllers 1988 to 1996)

1996: Dave Schnelker, Ning wu, I-Fu Shih of Delco Electronics & Ed Rothrock of Bell Sports (Design of Racing EyeCue)

1997: Ed Keating and Roger Allen of GM Motorsports (Oldsmobile Aurora Engine with Delco Electronics Gen-4 controller)

2005: Delphi engineers Erskine Carter, Glen Gray, Andy Inman, Tim Kronenberg and Bruce Natvig (Delphi Earpiece Sensor System)

2007: Delphi engineers Erskine Carter, Glen Gray, Andy Inman, Tim Kronenberg and Bruce Natvig (Delphi Accident Data Recorder 3 - ADR 3))

Environmental Record[edit]

Record of Ford's environmental decisions[edit]

Ford has a mixed record on environmental issues, consisting of both positive and negative reports. In 2003, Ford discarded its goal of improving mileage on sport-utility vehicles by 25 percent by 2005, considering that it would boost mileage of all vehicles instead. However, this plan had neither specific target nor goal. [19]

William Clay Ford Jr., the chairman and chief executive of the Ford Motor Co., commented in 2002 that a credibility gap on environmental issues has eroded America's love for cars. "During the nearly 25 years I've worked in the industry, the love affair that people have had with automobiles has in some ways grown stale, and some would say it's even dying," Ford said. "If you remember, in California, people used to write songs about T-Birds and Corvettes. Today, they write regulations. " [20]

For the 2007 model year, Ford has 13 U.S. models that achieve 30 miles per gallon or better (based on the highway fuel economy estimates of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)) and several of Ford’s vehicles were recognized in the EPA and Department of Energy Fuel Economy Guide for best-in-class fuel economy.Also, Ford has eliminated nearly 3 million pounds of smog-forming emissions from our U.S. cars and light trucks over the 2004 to 2006 model years.[21]

Alternative fuel vehicles and hybrids[edit]

Mulally (second from left) with President George W. Bush at the Kansas City Assembly plant in Claycomo, Missouri on March 20, 2007, touting Ford's new hybrid cars

In 2000, under the leadership of the current Ford chairman, William Clay (Bill) Ford, the Company stunned the industry (and pleased environmentalists) with an announcement [22] of a planned 25 percent improvement in the average mileage of its light truck fleet — including its popular SUVs — to be completed by the 2005 calendar year.

On the other hand, Ford ended the Think City experiment and ordered all the cars repossessed and destroyed, even as many of the people leasing them begged to be able to buy the cars from Ford. After outcry from the lessees and activists in the US and Norway, Ford returned the cars to Norway for sale.

In 2003, Ford announced that competitive market conditions and technological and cost challenges would prevent the company from achieving this goal. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2005 fuel economy report ranking Ford cars, trucks and SUVs as having the lowest gas milleage of any automaker in America [23]

Ford discontinued a line of electric Ranger pickup trucks and ordered them destroyed, though it reversed in January 2005, after environmentalist protest. [24]

Ford did achieve significant progress toward improving fuel efficiency during 2005, with the successful introduction of the Hybrid-Electric Escape. The Escape's platform mate Mercury Mariner is also available with the hybrid-electric system in the 2006 model year—a full year ahead of schedule—due to high demand. The similar Mazda Tribute will also receive a hybrid-electric powertrain option, along with many other vehicles in the Ford vehicle line. In 2005, Ford announced its goal to make 250,000 hybrids a year by 2010, but by mid-2006 announced that it would not meet that goal. Other hybrids to come out will be the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan Hybrid version in 2008. There are also plans for a Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX Hybrid. The Edge and MKX are Ford's new crossover SUVs to come out for the 2007 model year.

Ford also continues to study Fuel Cell-powered electric powertrains, and is currently demonstrating hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine technologies, as well as developing the next-generation hybrid-electric systems. To the extent it is successful in increasing the percentage of hybrid vehicles and/or fuel cell vehicles, there will be a significant decrease not only of air pollution emissions but also reduced sound levels, with notable favorable impacts upon respiratory health and decrease of noise health effects.

While the company's product line increasingly reflects its commitment to ecologically sustainable practices, Ford's record as a manufacturer continues to reveal problematic ones. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts have listed it as the seventh-worst corporate producer of air pollution, primarily because of the manganese compounds, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, and glycol ethers released from its casting, truck, and assembly plants.[25] The United States Environmental Protection Agency has linked Ford to 54 Superfund toxic waste sites, 12 of which have been cleaned up and deleted from the list.[26]

Ford Research Center Aachen

Bill Ford was one of the first top industry executives to make regular use of an battery electric vehicle, a Ford Ranger EV, while the company contracted with the United States Postal Service to deliver electric postal vans based on the Ranger EV platform. The alternative fuel vehicles, such as some versions of the Crown Victoria especially in fleet and taxi service, operate on compressed natural gas—or CNG. Some CNG vehicles have dual fuel tanks - one for gasoline, the other for CNG - the same engine can operate on either fuel via a selector switch. Flexible fuel vehicles are designed to operate smoothly using a wide range of available fuel mixtures—from pure gasoline, to bioethanol-gasoline blends such as E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline). Part of the challenge of successful marketing alternative and flexible fuel vehicles, is the general lack of establishment of sufficient fueling stations, which would be essential for these vehicles to be attractive to a wide range of consumers. Significant efforts to ramp up production and distribution of E85 fuels are underway and expanding.[27]

Current Ford Flexible Fuel Vehicles:[28]

Ford was third to the automotive market with a hybrid electric vehicle: the Ford Escape Hybrid, which also represented the first hybrid electric SUV to market and started the Ford hybrid technology [29]. The Hybrid Escape will also be the first hybrid electric vehicle with a Flexible Fuel capability to run on E85.[30] The company had made plans to manufacture up to 250,000 hybrids a year by 2010, but has since had to back down on that commitment, due to excessively high costs and the lack of sufficient supplies of the hybrid-electric batteries and drivetrain system components. Instead, Ford has committed to accelerating development of next-generation hybrid-electric power plants in Britain, in collaboration with Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover. This engineering study is expected to yield more than 100 new hybrid-electric vehicle models and derivatives.

Ford is also planning to produce 250,000 E85-capable vehicles a year in the US, adding to some 1.6 million already sold in the last 10 years.[31]

Ford also has launched the production of hydrogen-powered shuttle buses, using hydrogen instead of gasoline in a standard internal combustion engine, for use at airports and convention centers.[32] At the 2006 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford showcased a hydrogen fuel cell version of its Explorer SUV. The Fuel cell Explorer has a combined output of 174 hp (130 kW). It has a large hydrogen storage tank which is situated in the center of the car taking the original place of the conventional model’s automatic transmission. The centered position of the tank assists the vehicle reach a notable range of 350 miles (563 km), the farthest for a fuel cell vehicle so far. The fuel cell Explorer the first in a series of prototypes partly funded by the United States Department of Energy to expand efforts to determine the feasibility of hydrogen- powered vehicles. The fuel cell Explorer is one of several vehicles with green technology Ford being featured at the L.A. show, including the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid, PZEV emissions compliant Fusion and Focus models and a 2008 Ford F-Series Super Duty outfitted with Ford's clean diesel technology.

Ford announced on 2007-07-09 that it will team up with Southern California Edison (SCE) to examine the future of plug-in hybrids in terms of how home and vehicle energy systems will work with the electrical grid. Under the multi-million-dollar, multi-year project, Ford will convert a demonstration fleet of Ford Escape Hybrids into plug-in hybrids, and SCE will evaluate how the vehicles might interact with the home and the utility's electrical grid. Some of the vehicles will be evaluated "in typical customer settings," according to Ford.[33]

Current and planned Ford hybrid electric vehicles:

Political and charitable contributions[edit]

In the 2006 election cycle General Motors contributed $788,600, with 34% of that amount going to the Democrats and 66% to the Republicans.[34] Since 1996, General Motors has been the exclusive source of funding for Safe Kids USA's "Safe Kids Buckle Up" program, a national initiative to ensure child automobile safety through education and inspection.[35]

Corporate restructuring[edit]

After gaining market share in the late 1990s and making enormous profits General Motors stock soared to over $80 a share. However, in 2000, twelve successive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve led to a severe stock market decline following the September 11, 2001 attacks, caused a pension and benefit funds crisis at General Motors and many other American companies. General Motor's rising retiree health care costs and Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) fund deficit prompted the company to enact a broad restructuring plan. Although GM had already taken action to fully fund its pension plan, its OPEB fund became an issue for its corporate bond ratings. GM had expressed its disagreement with the bond ratings; moveover, GM's benefit funds were performing at higher than expected rates of return. Then, following a $10.6 billion loss in 2005, GM acted quickly to implement its restructuring plan. For the first quarter of 2006 GM earned $400 million, signaling a turnaround had already begun even though many aspects of the restructuring plan had not yet taken effect. Although retiree health care costs remain a significant issue, General Motors' investment strategy has generated a $17.1 billion surplus in 2007 in its $101 billion U.S. pension fund portfolio, a $35 billion reversal from its $17.8 billion of underfunding.[36]

In February 2005, GM successfully bought itself out of a put option with Fiat for $2 billion USD (€1.55 billion). In 2000, GM had sold a 6% stake to Fiat in return for a 20% share in the Italian automaker. As part of the deal, GM granted Fiat a put option which, if exercised between January 2004 and July 2009, could have forced GM to buy Fiat. GM had agreed to the put option at the time, perhaps to keep it from being acquired by another automaker such as Daimler AG competing with GM's Opel and Vauxhall marques. The relationship suffered, and Fiat had failed to improve. In 2003, Fiat recapitalized, reducing GM's stake to 10%.

In February 2006, GM slashed its annual dividend from 2.00 to $1.00 per share. The reduction saved $565 million a year.

In March 2006, GM divested 92.36 million shares (reducing their stake from 20% to 3%) of Japanese manufacturer Suzuki, in order to raise $2.3 billion. GM originally invested in Suzuki in the early 1980s.

On March 23, 2006, a private equity consortium including KKR, Goldman Sachs Capital, and Five Mile Capital purchased $8.8 billion, or 78% of GMAC, GM's commercial mortgage arm. The new entity, in which GMAC will own a 21% stake, will be known as Capmark Financial Group.[37]

On April 3, 2006, GM announced that it would sell 51% of GMAC as a whole to a consortium led by Cerberus Capital Management, raising $14 billion over 3 years. Investors also include Citigroup's private equity arm and Aozora Bank of Japan. The group will pay GM $7.4 billion in cash at closing. GM will retain approximately $20 billion in automobile financing worth an estimated $4 billion over three years.

GM sold its 8% stake in Isuzu on April 11, 2006, to raise an additional $300 million.[38]12,600 workers from Delphi, a key supplier to GM, agreed to buyouts and an early retirement plan offered by GM in order to avoid a strike, after a judge agreed to cancel Delphi's union contracts. 5,000 Delphi workers were allowed to flow to GM.

On June 28, 2007, GM agreed to sell its Allison Transmission division to private-equity firms Carlyle Group and Onex for $5.1 billion. The deal will increase GM's liquidity and echoes previous moves to shift its focus towards its core automotive business. The two firms will control seven factories around Indianapolis but GM will retain management of a factory in Baltimore. Former Allison Transmission president Lawrence E. Dewey will be the new CEO of the standalone company.[39]

On February 12, 2008 GM announced its loss of $39 Billion. The biggest loss of any U.S. Automaker. GM has offered buyouts to all its UAW members.

As GM opens new plants, those scheduled to close under the planned GM restructuring include (source: General Motors Corporation):

Plants Location Closing Role # Employees
Moraine Assembly (3rd shift) Ohio 2006 Mid-size SUV assembly 4,165
Oklahoma City Assembly Oklahoma Early 2006 Mid-size trucks and SUV assembly 2,734
Lansing Craft Centre Michigan Mid-2006 Chevrolet SSR roadster assembly 398
Spring Hill Manufacturing Line 1 Tennessee March 2007 Saturn Ion sedan and coupe assembly 5,776
Lansing Metal Center Michigan 2006 Metal fabricating 1,398
Portland Distribution Center Oregon 2006 Parts distribution 95
Saint Louis Distribution Center Missouri 2006 Parts distribution 182
Pittsburgh Metal Pennsylvania 2007 Metal fabricating 613
Ypsilanti Processing Center Michigan 2007 Parts processing 278
Flint North 3800 Michigan 2008 Engines 2,677

Environmental Record[edit]

In 2006, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, Rick Wagoner, gave a shove to a protester at the Los Angeles Auto Show who asked for a pledge to make GM the leader in fuel economy by 2010. The incident occurred right after Wagoner had delivered a speech about the company's plans for new green vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell cars. [40]

Criticism[edit]

In 1980, J. Patrick Wright wrote a book named On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors. This book, which critics acclaimed "blows the lid off the king of carmakers" was about the allegations of corruption, "mismanagement and total irresponsibility" at the top level of the company, as seen by John Z. DeLorean, the Vice-President, who in 1973 resigned from his position in spite of a brilliant and meteoric rise (he was earning $ 650,000 per year and was expected to be the next President of GM).

See also[edit]

People[edit]

Books and films[edit]

  • Final Offer - A documentary film that shows the 1984 GM contract negotiations, that would result in the union split of the Canadian arm of the UAW.
  • Roger & Me - the first documentary by filmmaker Michael Moore. The film criticizes General Motors for closing down its factories in Moore's hometown of Flint, Michigan, despite record profits. After Flint residents lose their many jobs at GM, Moore claims the town descends into economic chaos.
  • Who Killed the Electric Car? - A documentary film charting GM's launch, then alleged self-sabotage of the electric car EV1.
  • General Motors is mentioned several times in Wheels a novel by Arthur Hailey

Active brands[edit]

The following GM brands were being produced in January 2008:

Cancelled brands[edit]

Subsidiaries[edit]


Umbrella organization[edit]

  • United States Council for Automotive Research
  • Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

Categories[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ GM Reports Preliminary 2007 Financial Results AutoNews24h.com
  2. ^ GM Reports Loss for 2007 and Fourth Quarter - AutoObserver
  3. ^ GM reports record $38.7 bln annual loss in 2007 - People's Daily Online
  4. ^ AFP: GM to offer buyout to 74,000 US workers as losses mount
  5. ^ GM Reports Preliminary 2007 Financial Results AutoNews24h.com
  6. ^ GM Posts $38.7 Billion Auto Loss - TIME
  7. ^ "General Motors company profile". Retrieved October 2, 2007. 
  8. ^ Bunkley, Nick (April 24, 2008). "G.M. Says Toyota Has Lead in Global Sales Race". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  9. ^ http://www.gm.com/corporate/about/
  10. ^ $116 million PACE gift puts Purdue students in drivers' seat (September 26, 2006) Purdue News. Retrieved on May 8, 2007.
  11. ^ "Welcome to the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources". UAW-GM Joint Activity System. Retrieved on June 19, 2007.
  12. ^ Sloan, Allan (April 10, 2007).GM's High-Performance Pension Machine Washington Post, D02.
  13. ^ "GM becomes top-selling foreign automaker in China". Detroit News. Retrieved April 10, 2007. 
  14. ^ "GM plans a research center in Shanghai for hybrid technology", International Herald Tribune, October 29, 2007
  15. ^ Anthony Young, Lunar and Planetary Rovers: The Wheels of Apollo and the Quest for Mars. ISBN 0387307745
  16. ^ Delco Electronics Electron Magazine, June 1994, pages 1-5
  17. ^ James Bogner, SAE paper 962327 : Spread Spectrum Telemetry Data System for Indy Car Racing, October 1996.
  18. ^ Delphi's Innovative Earpiece Sensor System Becomes Safety Requirement for Indy Racing League Drivers[1]
  19. ^ http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aMlQX0p5EMyI&refer=us "Ford to Cut New-Car Greenhouse Emissions 30% by 2020" Apr. 9, 2008 Bloomberg.com May 1, 2008
  20. ^ http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/08/08/BU38981.DTL&type=business "Ford’s CEO says issue of environment has hurt Detroit." Aug. 8, 2002, San Francisco Chronicle Online, May 1, 2008
  21. ^ http://www.ford.com/aboutford/microsites/sustainability-report-2006-07/env.htm Ford Motor Company, May 1, 2008
  22. ^ Ford Commits to Major SUV Fuel Economy Gains
  23. ^ EPA Fails Ford On Fuel Efficiency…Again; Energy Bill Gives Automakers Another Free Ride
  24. ^ Activists Deride Ford over Fuel Inefficiency, ?Greenwashing? - The NewStandard
  25. ^ Political Economy Research Institute
  26. ^ Center for Public Integrity
  27. ^ "Alternative Power: Michigan sets sights on ethanol to become an energy hotbed". 
  28. ^ "Ford Motor Company". 
  29. ^ Ford Hybrid Car Technology - Ford
  30. ^ "Ford Develops World's First Ethanol-Fueled Hybrid Marrying Two Gasoline-Saving Technologies". 
  31. ^ "Leading the Way with Ethanol-Capable Vehicles". 
  32. ^ Hoffman, Bryce G (July 18, 2006). "Ford to produce 'green' buses". The Detroit News. 
  33. ^ EERE News: EERE Network News
  34. ^ Top Contributors to Federal Candidates and Parties: Automotive
  35. ^ Safe Kids USA. SK Buckle Up usa.safekids.org. Retrieved 24/02/08.
  36. ^ Sloan, Allan (April 10, 2007).GM's High-Performance Pension Machine Washington Post, D02.
  37. ^ "article". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved March 23, 2006. 
  38. ^ "GM sells Isuzu shares for $300 million". Detroit News. Retrieved 2006-04-12. 
  39. ^ GM Agrees to Sell Allison Transmission Unit, The Wall Street Journal, 29 June 2007
  40. ^ http://abcnews.go.com/Business/IndustryInfo/story?id=2688506&page=1GM CEO Shoves Environmental Protestor, ABC News, Nov. 29, 2006. Retrieved on Apr. 27, 2008

Further reading[edit]

  • Barabba, Vincent P. Surviving Transformation: Lessons from GM's Surprising Turnaround (2004)
  • Chandler, Alfred D., Jr., ed. Giant Enterprise: Ford, General Motors, and the Automobile Industry 1964.
  • Cray, Ed. Chrome Colossus: General Motors and Its Times. 1980.
  • Farber, David. Sloan Rules: Alfred P. Sloan and the Triumph of General Motors U of Chicago Press 2002
  • Gustin, Lawrence R. Billy Durant: Creator of General Motors , 1973.
  • Halberstam, David. The Reckoning (1986) detailed reporting on the crises of 1973-mid 1980s
  • Keller, Maryann. Rude Awakening: The Rise, Fall, and Struggle for Recovery of General Motors, 1989.
  • Leslie, Stuart W. Boss Kettering: Wizard of General Motors Columbia University Press, 1983.
  • Maxton, Graeme P. and John Wormald, Time for a Model Change: Re-engineering the Global Automotive Industry (2004)
  • Maynard, Micheline. The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market (2003)
  • Rae, John B. The American Automobile: A Brief History. University of Chicago Press, 1965.
  • Sloan, Alfred P., Jr. My Years with General Motors, 1963.
  • Weisberger, Bernard A. The Dream Maker: William C. Durant, Founder of General Motors , 1979

External links[edit]