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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Excerpts From GM Live Chat

Fritz Henderson did a live chat on GM's Fastlane Blog. Here are some interesting Q's and A's, excerpted form the whole chat. Red highlights are mine.

Fritz Henderson GM CEO, LIVE Webchat (06/04/2009)

[Comment From Bing ]
Mr. Henderson, If you were starting a "new" company, wouldn't you want it to be with folks that hadn't failed before?
Fritz Henderson: If I was starting a new company, which we are in fact, I would start with a blend of people that have been involved in winning businesses and outstanding people that learn from their failures. at least for me personally, I have been involved in both.

[Comment From Todd Lassa ]
How did a Chinese company with no prior history or experience in personal vehicle production snag the Hummer division? And can you comment on reports that the Opel-Magna deal isn't final?
Fritz Henderson: with regard to hummer, the potential buyer sichuan tenzhong offered the best overall alternative, and we did not have broad portfolio of other buyers!

[Comment From GMX206 ]
What do you think is the most important change that needs to be made in GM's corporate culture?
Fritz Henderson: we need to make some important changes in our culture. at least for me, we must drive home the following concepts and behaviours every day:
1. product and customers should dominate our activities and day to day lives.
2. speed. this is not sense of urgency, it is speed.
3. risk taking: we have great people. we need to allow them to take risks and coach them accordingly.
4. accountability: results count, period. consistent with a culture that encourages smart risk taking, with speed and delegation to act, we must all feel and live with a sense of accountability.

[Comment From Sumo ]
Mr. Henderson, the Asian carmakers have really taken away a lot of market share from the American carmakers? Will GM be able to challenge them in their home turfs?
Fritz Henderson: in china, we are rocking. in korea, we have gmdat with at or around 10% share, with good opportunities to grow. in japan, I have precisely ZERO interest.

[Comment From Michael Petrilla ]
What a great opportunity this is to speak directly with the CEO of a major corporation! I love the styling of the 2010 Buick LaCrosse and 2010 Cadillac SRX, both inside and outside. I was wondering if the Ecotec 4 cylinder/6 speed automatic combination will be made available at a future date for these two vehicles. The fuel mileage would be increased substantially and the performance would still be acceptable. I had a ride in a 2009 Saturn Vue (a dealer courtesy car) with the 4 cylinder/6 speed auto and it had plenty of power. Will the bankruptcy filing delay the introduction of these new vehicles? Also, I own a 2009 Saturn Sky Redline and naturally I am sad to see the Sky and Solstice discontinued. The demographics of Sky buyers seem to match those of the new LaCrosse and Solstice buyers seem to match up with Chevy buyers. A plan to make the Solstice a Chevy and the Sky a Buick made a lot of sense to a lot of people. And to build them at Bowling Green made sense as well. What was the deciding factor against the plan? Thank you.
Fritz Henderson: for lacrosse, subsequent to sop, we do have plans for a performance version of our 4cyl ecotec engine. srx will only have 6's, with great fuel economy and performance. on sky and solstice, we intend to complete production later this year and phase out as part of our brand actions on pontiac and saturn.

[Comment From Guest ]
Can you explain your rationale for keeping the GMC brand alive?
Fritz Henderson: profit. great and clear brand. passionate customers. profit can I be any clearer?

[Comment From Kathy Tomasik ]
I had a small amount of shares from the old GM. What has happened to them?
Fritz Henderson: unfortunately, the value of gm shares is expected to be zero.

[Comment From Jeff ]
I am what you might call a Volt skeptic. Can you say that they will find their hands into average people and not just limited to rich executives and celebrities (ala the Tesla roadster)?
Fritz Henderson: this will not be an inexpensive vehicle in its first generation, but it will be extremely affordable relative to a tesla. while we have not made final decisions on pricing, you should be thinking about $40k ish, with a $7500 available tax credit.

[Comment From John ]
Will the Corvette survive as athe V8 engined rear wheel drive icon we all love?
Fritz Henderson: yes. my wonderful baby is my 2005 corvette coupe. we have more in store for the future and this iconic brand will retain its powerful place within the new gm.

[Comment From One of the Faithful ]
GM has recently been behing the 8 ball on the release of its product. The Camaro was in concept form for 5 years before the vehicle actually hit the floor. The Mustang was on the ground WAY to long, and even though GM is selling every Camaro it can make right now the Mustang had to hurt Camaro sales. The same is with the HHR compared to the PT Cruiser. What are your plans to keep ahead of your competitors?
Fritz Henderson: with 34 nameplates to drive across 4 core brands, we have the right sized portfolio to maintain a fresh and exciting portfolio with the right launch cadence.

[Comment From Robert Tukes ]
Sent we all realize the camaro is a great hit. Will we make a electric Camaro ?
Fritz Henderson: not likely.

[Comment From Employee ]
Great news coverage on the G8 GXP today - any chance it will live on as a chevy or maybe an entry level caddy?
Fritz Henderson: no.

[Comment From Tony ]
What does it feel like being the CEO of a company with 60% government ownership? While the government won't be heavily involved, that must be an amazing responsibility to all Americans
Fritz Henderson: we do have this amazing responsibility and we all need to be immensely thankful for the support, which is not popular broadly. this means we have the responsibility to deliver.

by the way, a friend of mine sent me an email indicating that I am the ceo of a company that will have 300 million shareholders. actually, we will have 330 million shareholders, including the taxpayers of the US and Canada.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Weell... here's the reason there's zero interest in selling cars in Japan.