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Barra Completes Two-Day Tour, Sticks to GM’s Guns About Closings

Senators push CEO to change her mind — with no luck.

by Michael Strong on Dec.07, 2018

General Motors CEO Mary Barra said no changes would be made to the closures of five U.S. plants.

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra completed two days of tense discussions with politicians in areas affected by the company’s recently announced plans to close five plants and displace thousands of workers.

Barra’s message was that these decisions were not made lightly and that the company would find jobs for many of the displaced workers, but ultimately they were made due to shifts in the buying habits of Americans.

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“We had really productive discussions, and I think they have a better understanding of what we’re doing and why, and how we’re making sure that we’re supporting the displaced workers, especially at the plants that are impacted, ” she said after meeting with Michigan politicians, the Detroit News reported.  (more…)

GM CEO’s “Open Mind” May Not Save Any of Five Plants Slated to Close

“We do have an overcapacity problem,” says Barra, after Capitol Hill meetings.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.06, 2018

GM CEO Mary Barra has been meeting with members of Congress, explaining why five plants are being closed.

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra told members of Congress she will keep an “open mind” when it comes to plans to close five plants next year, including assembly plants in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario, Canada.

The closures were announced late last month, along with plans to trim about 15% of the automaker’s white-collar workforce, as it addresses a variety of problems, including the ongoing shift from passenger cars to light trucks. But Barra also stressed that the automaker faces “limitations” on what it can do because “we do have an overcapacity (issue) across the country.”

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The one-time “shop rat,” who began working at GM as a co-op student said she told Congressional representatives from Ohio and Maryland on Wednesday that “These were difficult decisions – decisions I take very personally,” while adding in a statement that GM wants to “minimize the impact on the (affected) communities” by, among other things, offering workers a chance to switch to other GM plants, where possible or by offering outplacement services. (more…)

GM Asks for Relief on Fuel Rules While Betting Big on EVs

CEO Barra talks about GM's battery-based future.

by Joseph Szczesny on Oct.30, 2018

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra talked about the company's future batter-electric vehicles at CityLab Detroit 2018.

General Motors has proposed downshifting the federal fuel-economy standards it signed off when it went bankrupt a decade ago, but its top executive said she hopes the automaker can help hasten the switch to electric vehicles.

GM said in a document released this week it favors annual increase in fuel-efficiency standards based on “historic rates” rather than the Obama era rules or a proposal from Trump administration proposal that would basically loosen the current standards.

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Mary Barra, GM chairman and chief executive officer, noted in remarks in Detroit that GM has taken a leading role in the development of electric vehicles and is now developing its fourth generation of EVs.   (more…)

GM Impacted Already by Rising Costs Due to Trump Tariffs

CEO Barra says no changes planned yet.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jun.12, 2018

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra talks with media prior to the start of the 2018 General Motors annual shareholders meeting.

Tariffs on aluminum and steel are already beginning to push up costs General Motors top executive acknowledged before the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Detroit.

GM is beginning to see cost increases as a result of the tariffs imposed on aluminum and steel by the Trump administration, GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Marry Barra said Tuesday ahead of the company’s meeting.

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Barra told reporters that the trade negotiations are still incomplete so it is difficult to have a complete picture of the impact of tariffs will have on the General Motors or the automobile industry in general.  (more…)

GM’s Barra Pushes For Government Help with China EV Sales

CEO says automaker will meet the mandates.

by Michael Strong on Sep.15, 2017

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said consumers in China will need government enticements to buy EVs in the numbers it wants.

If the Chinese government wants a flood of electric vehicles racing around the streets of its largest cities, GM CEO Mary Barra believes they’re going to need to provide some substantial incentives to consumers to lure them behind the wheel.

Barra, who was speaking at company event in Shanghai, said the move toward new-energy vehicles, or NEVs, will require the government to entice a market that is very comfortable with gasoline-powered cars to make the switch along with viable products.

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“While we are exploring all channels to boost NEV sales, building raw consumer acceptance of NEVs will depend on continued joint effort between the government and automakers,” Barra said, according to Reuters. (more…)

Barra Brings Home Industry’s Fattest Paycheck

Breaking the glass ceiling paid big reward.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Apr.05, 2017

CEO Mary Barra.

The woman who broke Detroit’s glass ceiling is now the best-paid executive – male or female – in the domestic auto industry.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who became the maker’s chief executive officer in 2014 and later its chairman, earned $22.6 million last year. That was actually down $6 million compared to hear 2015 compensation, but still $500,000 more than what Ford CEO Mark Fields brought home, according to federal documents filed by the two carmakers.

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As for Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, he lagged well behind with compensation of “just” $11.99 million for the year. And while numbers haven’t been released for all the major foreign manufacturers, observers say it’s likely Barra will reign supreme across the industry, as U.S. automakers historically have offered significantly higher compensation than overseas competitors.

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Barra Accepts Post on Trump Economic Advisory Panel

GM boss only top executive from an automaker in the group.

by Michael Strong on Dec.02, 2016

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra accepted a spot on President-elect Donald Trump's newly formed economy and trade forum.

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra’s success has apparently made her very popular in Washington D.C. these days.

President-elect Donald Trump asked Barra to be part of his Strategic and Policy Forum that will advise him on economic and trade issues.

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Trump included Barra in the group composed of “some of America’s most highly respected and successful business leaders” that “is designed to provide direct input to the president from many of the best and brightest in the business world in a frank, non-bureaucratic and non-partisan manner,” according to Trump officials. (more…)

GM’s Barra Almost Got a Much Bigger Promotion: U.S. Vice President

WikiLeaks latest release reveals CEO was considered as Clinton's running mate.

by Michael Strong on Oct.18, 2016

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra made the first round of cuts to be Hillary Clinton's running mate this year.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra’s spent her entire career with one company. However, the history-making executive was under consideration for a bigger title than the “Chairman” that she added last year: Vice President of the United States.

Barra, who has never publicly espoused any political aspirations, was listed among 39 potential candidates to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate, according to a hacked email released today by WikiLeaks.

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In a list broken down by adviser John Podesta into what he labeled as “food groups,” Barra found herself mentioned with several other top executives, including: Michael Bloomberg, chairman of the news group that bears his name and former mayor of New York City; Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, as well as his wife, Melissa; Apple CEO Tim Cook; Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz; and several others. (more…)

General Motors Taking “Step Back” in Push to Autonomous Driving

CEO Barra says no “specific date” for launch of Supecruise system.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jul.22, 2016

GM CEO Mary Barra said the company is rethinking its timeframe for the introduction of semi- and fully autonomous vehicles.

The fatal crash of a Tesla Model S using the maker’s Autopilot system appears to be having some serious repercussions across the auto industry as manufacturers and regulators re-think the rush to put semi- and fully autonomous vehicles on the road.

Among the automakers taking a “step back” is General Motors, where Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said the maker is taking another “look at what technology is in the best interest of consumers.” One consequence may be a delay in the roll-out of GM’s Supercruise, a system believed to be similar in function to the Tesla Autopilot.

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Until recently, GM was indicating it would launch the Supercruise software on its new Cadillac CT6 sedan sometime in 2017. But at this point, Barra told reporters in Detroit, “We aren’t putting a specific date on it,” but officials later added the feature is still expected to debut in 2017. (more…)

GM Favors Autonomous Vehicles with Driver Controls, Barra Says

GM CEO discusses autonomous strategy, corporate profits before meeting.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jun.07, 2016

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra speaks with the media prior to the company's annual meeting.

General Motors favors a regulatory approach requiring autonomous vehicles to be equipped with steering wheels and brake pedals.

Mary Barra, GM chairman and chief executive, told reporters before the automaker’s annual shareholders meeting that the company prefers regulations that mandate automated, self-driving vehicles to have steering wheels and brake pedals.

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The company has made sizeable investments in future technology, including the $1 billion acquisition of Cruise, a start-up company based on San Francisco focused on the development of autonomous vehicles, she said. (more…)