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General Motors Essay

General Motors Company, known as GM, was founded in 1908 in Flint, Michigan by William C. Durant and Charles Stewart Mott. The present chairman and CEO is Daniel Akerson. Akerson joined GM’s board in 2009 as the company went through a bankruptcy reorganization. He became CEO Sept. 1, 2010, and led GM’s 2010 return to the stock market — at the time the largest initial public offering in U.S. history (Detroit Free Press, 2013). The headquarters for GM is presently located in Detroit, Michigan. GM specializes in designing, manufacturing, marketing and distributing cars, trucks and vehicle parts. The brands under GM include Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun, Holden, Isuzu, Jie Fang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM employs over 200,000 people and has 396 facilities on six continents. GM is divided into five business segments: GM North America, GM Europe, GM International Operations, GM South America and GM Financial. The two biggest markets for GM are the U.S. and China. According to Dan Akerson they continually do well in both markets and are making further progress in their European business (General Motors, 2013). In July, 2009, GM filed for bankruptcy. Later that year, GM emerged from a government backed Chapter 11 reorganization. Then in 2010 GM made an initial public offering (IPO) that was one of the world’s largest and helped them to return to making a profit later that year. An IPO is a type of public offering where shares of stock in a company are sold to the general public. Through this process GM, a private company, became a public company. Because of the bankruptcy GM had to start from the beginning and figure out what caused them to go under previously and what they needed to do to become a top organization again. With the start of the “new” General Motors they were starting over so they created a new clearer vision and a new business model.

As of 2012, GM was ranked among one of the world’s largest automakers. The company’s total worldwide vehicle sales were 9.3 million (The New York
Times, 2013). GMs net revenue in the second quarter of 2013 was $39.1 billion up from $37.6 billion in the second quarter of 2012 (General Motors, 2013). Since their bankruptcy GM has been reporting record profits and has steadily climbed back up the ladder with customer satisfaction and productivity. Akerson said, “So, here we are four years out of bankruptcy and we’ve made $25 billion (before taxes and interest). I think that’s more than the company’s ever made in a four-year period” (Detroit Free Press, 2013). The company’s progress is indicative of a new business model that begins and ends with great vehicles. GM leveraged their resources to maintain stringent cost management while taking advantage of growth and revenue opportunities around the world, to ultimately deliver sustainable results for all of their stakeholders (General Motors 2010). Being one of the biggest markets for GM, General Motors North America (GMNA) has been a key contributor in bringing in a profit for the whole organization. They currently have 5,000 dealerships, 34 plants and employs over 68,000 people. The profits reported for GMNA for the second quarter was an adjusted EBIT of $1,976 million compared to $1,891 million for the same period a year ago. Total net sales and revenue was $23,495 million compared to $21,552 million for the same period a year ago. For the six months, the company reported adjusted EBIT of $3,390 million compared to $3,533 million for the same period year ago. Total net sales and revenue was $46,474 million compared to $44,727 million for the same period year ago (Bloomsburg Businessweek, 2013). The current president, Mark Reuss, of GMNA has recently revamped the organization. Attached is a copy of the previous organizational structure and the new structure. The old GMNA consisted of a vertical structure which is a hierarchical structure with many levels of authority and the jobs were grouped by function into departments. They were divided into different independent automakers. Each independent automaker was operated differently and competing with each other. The competition among its own independent automakers and lack of centralization was costly. When they restructured after the bankruptcy, GMNA adopted a flatter structure where accountability is key. The new structure is centralized and unified; a team versus several individuals working towards common goals. With this structure GMNA is running in a more streamlined manner and it’s a more cost effective way of running there organization. GM has a diverse listing of employment opportunities.

The positions range from engineering and manufacturing positions to Human Resources and Research positions. According to several employees, past and present, GM provides great pay and hours. GM promotes employees to further their education and training. The work environment was fun, friendly and like working with family. Working in the plants many of the employees had to do shift work and heavy manual labor this didn’t seem like a deterrent they still enjoyed the job and the coworkers. The environment appears to be open when it comes to management and employee interaction. The CEO Akerson is “a strong believer in management by walking around. Everywhere he’s been you see pictures of him with employees. He’s a reminder that management is a contact sport,” Merten says (Detroit Free Press, 2013). The reviews were mostly all positive. The only negative things that seemed to keep popping up were the long hours and the stress to meet deadlines. GM has enlisted their customers and employees to send them ideas to help improve vehicles, sales, marketing, etc. and they act on the ones that will improve their ability to serve the customers better. GM has come a long way since 2009. With the reorganization changes they have become quicker and more decisive so the customers’ needs are met and they are producing reliable vehicles. It seems like GM really is getting back into what they are best at; building vehicles and serving their customer’s needs.


Detroit Free Press. (August 5, 2013). General Motors CEO Dan Akerson Shares Top 9 Leadership Lessons. Retrieved August 21, 2013. http://www.freep.com/article/20130805/BUSINESS0101/308050088/dan-akerson-GM-CEO-leadership-lessons

Jones, Gareth R. & George, Jennifer M. (2013). Essentials of Contemporary Management. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

General Motors. (July 25, 2013). Investors: Earnings Releases. GM Reports Second Quarter Net Income of $1.2 Billion. Retrieved August 21, 2013. http://www.gm.com/content/gmcom/home/company/investors/earning-releases.conte

General Motors. (2010). General Motors Company 2010 Annual Report. Retrieved August 21, 2013. http://www.gm.com/content/dam/gmcom/COMPANY/Investors/Corporate_Governance/PDFs/StockholderInformationPDFs/Annual-Report.pdf

Indeed. (2013). GM Employer Reviews. Retrieved August 21, 2013. http://www.indeed.com/cmp/GM/reviews Bloomsburg Businessweek. (July 25, 2013). General Motors North America, Inc. Announces Earnings Results for the Second Quarter and Six Months Ended June 30, 2013. Retrieved on August 22, 2013. http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=24368349

The New York Times. (August 21, 2013). General Motors. Retrieved August 21, 2013. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/general_motors_corporation/index.html?offset=20&s=newest

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