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CEO tries to reset General Motors’ brand

Sarah Gardner Oct 2, 2014
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General Motors CEO Mary Barra is trying to change the conversation. This year’s ignition switch recall, and the hearings and lawsuits that followed, have weighed heavily on the automaker. Barra is now focusing on a new strategy, pledging to boost profit margins, cut costs and grow the company. She’s aiming to achieve pretax profit margins of 10 percent in North America by 2016.

GM’s plan includes new factories in China and streamlining global production. It also focuses on what customers want: new, quieter vehicles, broadband and even a hands-free driving option called “Super Cruise.”

Jeremy Acevedo, an analyst at the car-shopping site Edmunds.com, says the strategy is an opportunity for Barra to reinvent the GM brand. “She’s allowed to repaint GM as a new, customer-focused brand, whereas before, it just kind of looked like the old GM that was so interested in driving profits.”

Of course, strong profits are exactly what Barra ultimately wants to achieve. “Our strategic plan,” says Barra,“ is a pathway to earn customers for life and create significant shareholder value in the process.”

 

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