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General Motors Company
Type Public
Founded September 27, 1908
Founder(s) William C. Durant
Headquarters Renaissance Center
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Area served Worldwide
Key people Daniel Akerson
(Chairman and CEO]
Industry Automotive
Products Automobiles
Financial Services
Revenue (turnover) increase US$ 135.592 billion (2010)[1]
Operating income increase US$ 5.084 billion(2010)[1]
Net income increase US$ 6.172 billion (2010)[1]
Total assets increase US$ 138.898 billion (2010)[1]
Total equity increase US$ 36.180 billion (2010)[1]
Employees 209,000 (2010)[2]
Divisions Chevrolet
Subsidiaries OnStar
Adam Opel AG
GM Holden Ltd
GM Financial
Vauxhall Motors
GM Korea
General Motors do Brasil

General Motors Company (commonly known as General Motors or GM) (NYSEGM, TSXGMM.U), is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker (after Toyota).[3] The old General Motors Corporation was founded in 1908 and was reestablished as of July 10, 2009.[4] With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 209,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 157 countries. General Motors produces cars and trucks in 31 countries, and sells and services these vehicles through the following divisions/brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Opel, Vauxhall, and Holden, as well as two joint ventures in China. GM's OnStar subsidiary provides vehicle safety, security and information services.

On June 8, 2009, General Motors filed for reorganization under the provisions of Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code. On July 10, 2009, with financing partially provided by the US Government, the company emerged from reorganization and was listed on major stock exchanges on November 18, 2010 with the world's largest IPO.[5][6][5]

Corporate governance

General Motors is headquartered at the Renaissance Center in Detroit. It employs approximately 209,000 people around the world. In 2009, General Motors sold 6.5 million cars and trucks globally. General Motors' recent growth has been in the People's Republic of China, where its sales rose 66.9 percent in 2009, selling 1,830,000 vehicles and accounting for 13.4 percent of the market.[7]

Calendar Year U.S. sales Chg/yr.
1998[8] 4,603,991
1999 5,017,150 increase9.0%
2000[9] 4,953,163 1.3%
2001 4,904,015 1.0%
2002 4,858,705 0.9%
2003 4,756,403 2.1%
2004[10] 4,707,416 1.0%
2005 4,517,730 4.0%
2006[11] 4,124,645 8.7%
2007 3,866,620 6.3%
2008[12] 2,980,688 22.9%
2009[13] 2,084,492 30.1%
2010[14] 2,215,227 increase6.3%

On July 23, 2009, GM announced its new Board of Directors: Dan Akerson, David Bonderman, Robert D. Krebs, Patricia F. Russo and Ed Whitacre (GM Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer). Board members who are not GM employees will be paid US$200,000 annually.[15]

As of December 1, 2009, The General Motors Board of Directors accepted Frederick Henderson's resignation. In January 2010, chairman Whitacre was appointed permanent chief executive officer after previously serving in an interim capacity.[16]

Executive management:

  • Daniel Akerson - Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Board of Directors
  • Daniel Ammann - Chief Financial Officer[17]
  • Thomas G. Stephens - Vice Chairman, Global Product Operations[18]
  • Mark Reuss - President, GM North America[19]
  • David N. Reilly - President, GM Europe
  • Timothy E. Lee - President, GM International Operations (Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa, and Middle East)[20]
  • Edward T. Welburn - Global Vice President of General Motors Design, current and only the sixth head designer.[21]

For additional senior management see GM Senior Leadership Group

As part of the company's advertising, Ed Whitacre announced the company's 60-day money-back guarantee and repayment of $6.7 billion loan from government ahead of schedule.[22] On August 12, 2010 GM announced that Whitacre would relinquish the CEO position effective September 1, 2010 and that of Chairman of the Board at the end of the year, to be replaced in those functions by current board member Dan Akerson.[23] Between emerging from bankruptcy and March 2011, the company has had three chief executive officers and three chief financial officers.[24]

Recent results

On February 24, 2011, General Motors reported its first full-year profit since 2004. It can carry forward previous losses to reduce tax liability on future earnings. It earned $4.7 billion in 2010. The Wall Street Journal estimated the tax break, including credits for costs related to pensions and other expenses can be worth as much as $45 billion over the next 20 years.[25]

World presence

North America

GM World Headquarters in Detroit

In North America, GM products focus primarily on its four core divisions — Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC. The White House characterized the GM restructuring as a shift toward a new leaner, greener GM, which will aim to break even with annual sales much lower than previously stated.[26] President Obama declared that the restructuring "will mark the end of an old GM, and the beginning of a new GM; a new GM that can produce the high-quality, safe, and fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow; that can lead America towards an energy independent future; and that is once more a symbol of America's success."[27]

In the mid 2005, GM announced that its corporate chrome power emblem "Mark of Excellence" would begin appearing on all recently introduced and all-new 2006 model vehicles produced and sold in North America. However, in 2009 the "New GM" reversed this, saying that emphasis on its four core divisions would downplay the GM logo.[28]

GM worldwide 2008 vehicle sales[29]
in GM
Location Vehicle
share (%)
1  United States 2,981 22.1%
2 People's Republic of China China (PRC) 1,095 12.0%
3  Brazil 549 19.5%
4  United Kingdom 384 15.4%
5  {{{name}}} 359 21.4%
6  Russia 338 11.1%
7  Germany 300 8.8%
8  Mexico 212 19.8%
9  Australia 133 13.1%
10  South Korea 117 9.7%
11  France 114 4.4%
12  Spain 107 7.8%
13  Argentina 95 15.5%
14  Venezuela 91 33.3%
15  Colombia 80 36.3%
16  India 66 3.3%


The company manufactures most of its China market vehicles locally through Shanghai GM, a joint venture with the Chinese company SAIC, which was created on March 25, 1997. The Shanghai GM plant was officially opened on December 15, 1998, when the first Chinese-built Buick came off the assembly line. The SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile joint-venture is also successfully selling microvans under the Wuling marque (34 percent owned by GM).

The Buick brand is especially strong in China, led by the Buick Excelle subcompact. The last emperor of China owned a Buick.[30] The Cadillac brand was introduced in China in 2004, starting with exports to China. GM pushed the marketing of the Chevrolet brand in China in 2005 as well, transferring Buick Sail to that marque.

In August 2009 the joint venture of FAW-GM Light Duty Commercial Vehicle Co Ltd was formed that mainly produces Jiefang light-duty trucks.[31]

GM increased its sales in China by 68 percent to 230,048 vehicles in March 2010, outsold its U.S. sales of 188,546 by 22 percent. And the company said it is “on track” to sell more than 2 million vehicles in China in 2010, four years ahead of its plan.[32] GM set up an auto research center as part of a USD250 million corporate campus in Shanghai to develop 'gasoline-hybrid cars, electric vehicles and alternative fuels, engines and new technologies'.[33] The company plans to double its sales from 2010 to about 5 million units in China by 2015.[34]

SAIC-GM-Wuling establishes low-cost brand Baojun to better compete with domestic rivals, Chery, Geely and BYD for first-time buyers of cars priced around USD10,000. It is estimated that such market in China is about 5 million vehicles a year, larger than the auto market in France and Britain combined. However, some are worried that 'local brands like Baojun could eventually become threats to their parent brands if they compete more against established models over time'. Shanghai-GM-Wuling sold 1.23 million vehicles in 2010, mainly commercial vans and trucks, of which about 700,000 unit was a van called Sunshine. [35]


General Motors has a long history in Egypt which began in the 1920s with the assembling of cars and light pickup trucks for the local market. In the mid of the 1950s, GM withdrew from the Egyptian market. Some year later, the Ghabbour Brothers began to assemble Cadillac, Chevrolet and Buick models up to the 1990s.

Since 1983 GM and Al-Monsour Automotive Company has founded the General Motors Egypt which is currently the only manufacturer of traditional GM branded vehicles in Egypt. The Speranza Motors is a big company which started in the 1990s with the SKD assembling of Daewoo cars. Today the main products of Speranza are from the Chinese Chery concern.

GM began operating in South Africa in 1913 through its wholly owned subsidiary, General Motors South Africa. Following the passage of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act in 1986, GM was forced to divest from South Africa, and GMSA became the independent Delta Motor Corporation. GM purchased a 49% stake in Delta in 1997 following the end of apartheid, and acquired the remaining 51% in 2004, reverting the company to its original name.

Racing heritage

GM has participated over the years in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), Le Mans, NASCAR, SCCA, and many other world venues.

Chevrolet Cruze in the WTCC

Corvette Racing Team at the Le Mans

GM's engines were highy successful in the Indy Racing League (IRL) throughout the 1990s, winning many races in the small V-8 class. GM has also done much work in the development of electronics for GM auto racing through its former subsidiary Delphi. 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 Australia, there is the V8 Supercar Championship which is battled out by the two main rivals of (GM) Holden and Ford. The current Holden Racing Team cars are based on the Holden Commodore and run a 5.0-litre V8-cylinder engine producing 635 bhp (474 kW). These cars have a top speed of 318 km/h (198 mph) and run 0–100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. The Holden Racing Team is Australia's most successful team in Australian Touring Car History. In 2006 & 2007, the Drivers championship was won by the very closely linked HSV Dealer Team.


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.[36] Through 2002, the Pace Awards program led by GM, EDS, and SUN Microsystems, gave over $1.2 billion of in-kind contributions which includes computers to over 18 universities to support engineering education.[37] In 2009, the GM led group has helped the Pace Awards program worldwide.[38] General Motors is a leading contributor to charity. In 2004, GM gave $51,200,000 in cash contributions and $17,200,000 in-kind donations to charitable causes.[39]

Research and development

GM R&D was the world’s first automotive research center. It was organized in 1920 by inventor Charles F. Kettering.

Headquartered in Warren, Michigan, the GM Research Lab is a network of six laboratories, six science offices and collaborative relationships in over twelve countries including working relationships with universities, government groups, suppliers and other partners from across the globe.

Small car sales

Chevrolet Aveo Concept,later went into production as the Chevy Sonic

As part of General Motors Company development, it plans to revive one of its idled U.S. factories for the production of a small car in Orion, Michigan, with the creation of 1,200 American jobs. This will be first time ever a large manufacture producing a Supermini vehicle in the United States. The new small car will add to a group of small and fuel-efficient vehicles that the company is planning to roll out in the near future. This retooled plant will be capable of building 160,000 cars annually, including both small and compact vehicles.[40]

Environmental initiatives

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt, a breakthrough vehicle for GM, is a plug-in electric vehicle.

General Motors is one of the leading users in renewable energy. The company has published principles regarding the environment and maintains an extensive website to inform the public. In 2008, General Motors committed to engineering half of its manufacturing plants to be landfill-free. In order to achieve its landfill-free status, production waste is recycled or reused in the manufacturing process.

The world's largest rooftop solar power installation was installed at General Motors Spanish Zaragoza Manufacturing Plant in fall 2008. The Zaragoza solar installation has about 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m²) of roof at the plant and contains about 85,000 solar panels. The installation was created, owned and operated by Veolia Environment and Clairvoyant Energy, who lease the rooftop area from General Motors. [41][42][43]

The company has long worked on alternative-technology vehicles, and has recently[when?] led the industry with ethanol-burning flexible-fuel vehicles that can run on either E85 (ethanol) or gasoline. The company was the first to use turbochargers and was an early proponent of V6 engines in the 1960s, but quickly lost interest as the muscle car race took hold. They demonstrated[44] gas turbine vehicles powered by kerosene, an area of interest throughout the industry, but abandoned the alternative engine configuration in view of the 1973 oil crisis. In the 1970s and 1980s, GM pushed the benefits of diesel engines and cylinder deactivation technologies with disastrous results due to poor durability in the Oldsmobile diesels and drivability issues in the Cadillac V8-6-4 variable-cylinder engines. In 1987, GM, in conjunction with AeroVironment, built the Sunraycer, which won the inaugural World Solar Challenge and was a showcase of advanced technology. Much of the technology from Sunraycer found its way into the Impact prototype electric vehicle (also built by Aerovironment) and was the predecessor to the General Motors EV1.

GM supported a compromise version of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard increase from 27 mpg-US (8.7 L/100 km/32 mpg-imp) to 35 mpg-US (6.7 L/100 km/42 mpg-imp), the first such increase in over 20 years.[45] GM announced they will introduce more Volt-based plug-in hybrids.

Hybrid electric vehicles

Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

In May 2004, GM delivered the world's first full-sized hybrid pickups, the 1/2-ton Silverado/Sierra. These mild hybrids did not use electrical energy for propulsion, like GM's later designs. In 2005, the Opel Astra diesel Hybrid concept vehicle was introduced. The 2006 Saturn Vue Green Line was the first hybrid passenger vehicle from GM and is also a mild design. GM has hinted at new hybrid technologies to be employed that will be optimized for higher speeds in freeway driving.

GM currently offers the 2-mode hybrid system used by the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon and will later be used on the Saturn Vue (cancelled), Cadillac Escalade, GM 1/2-ton pickups and possibly other vehicles.[46]

GM has recently[when?] introduced the Chevrolet Volt, which is an electric vehicle with back-up generators, powered by gasoline. The production Chevrolet Volt was available in late 2010 as a 2011 model with limited availability.[47] GM delivered the first Volt during December 2010.

The GM Magic Bus is a hybrid-powered bus.[48]

All-electric vehicles

General Motors was the first American company (in the modern era) to release an all-electric automobile. In 1990, GM debuted the "Impact" concept car at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It was the first car with zero-emissions marketed in the US in over three decades. The Impact was eventually produced as the EV1 for the 1996 model year. It was available through dealers located in only a few regions (e.g., California, Arizona, Georgia). Vehicles were leased, rather than sold, to individuals. In 1999 GM decided to cease production of the vehicles. When the individual leases had expired, they declined to renew the leases or allow the lessors to purchase them. All of the EV1s were eventually returned to General Motors and, with the exception of a few which were donated to museums, all were destroyed.

General Motors has announced that it is building a prototype two-seat electric vehicle with Segway. An early prototype of the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility vehicle—dubbed Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility (Project P.U.M.A.) – will be shown off in New York a day ahead of the press previews for the 2009 New York International Auto Show.[49][dated info]

Battery packs for electric vehicles

GM builds battery packs in southern Michigan.[47] GM also established an automotive battery laboratory in Michigan.[50] GM will be responsible for battery management systems and power electronics, thermal management, as well as the pack assembly. An existing GM facility at Brownstown Township was chosen to be upgraded as battery pack plant.[47] LG Chem's U.S. subsidiary, Compact Power of Troy, Michigan, has been building the prototype packs for the development vehicles and will continue to provide integration support and act as a liaison for the program.

Hydrogen initiative

Sequel, a fuel cell-powered vehicle from GM

GM has prided its research and prototype development of hydrogen powered vehicles,[47] to be produced in early 2010, using a support infrastructure still in a prototype state. The economic feasibility of the technically challenging hydrogen car, and the low-cost production of hydrogen to fuel it, has also been discussed by other automobile manufacturers such as Ford and Chrysler.

In June 2007, Larry Burns, vice president of research and development, said he's not yet willing to say exactly when hydrogen vehicles will be mass produced, but he said it should happen before 2020, the year many experts have predicted. He said "I sure would be disappointed if we weren't there" before 2020.[51]

Flexible-fuel vehicles

GM produces several flexible-fuel vehicles that can operate on E85 ethanol fuel or gasoline, or any blend of both. Since 2006 GM started featuring a bright yellow gas cap to remind drivers of the E85 capabilities,[52][53][54][55] and also using badging with the text "Flexfuel/E85 Ethanol" to clearly mark the car as an E85 FFV.[56][57]

GM is the leader in E85 flex fuel vehicles, with over 3 million FlexFuel vehicles on the road in the U.S. As of 2009, GM offers 18 ethanol-enabled FlexFuel cars and trucks in the US, and produces more than one million new FlexFuel vehicles. GM's goal is to have half of their annual vehicle production be E85 or biodiesel capable by 2012.[58]


Main article: History of General Motors

The company was founded on September 16, 1908, in Flint, Michigan, as a holding company for Buick, then controlled by William C. Durant. At the turn of the 20th century there were fewer than 8,000 automobiles in America and Durant had become a leading manufacturer of horse-drawn vehicles in Flint, MI, before making his foray into the automotive industry.[59] GM's co-founder was Charles Stewart Mott, whose carriage company was merged into Buick prior to GM's creation. Over the years Mott became the largest single stockholder in GM and spent his life with his Mott Foundation which has benefited the city of Flint, his adopted home. It acquired Oldsmobile later that year. In 1909, Durant brought in Cadillac, Elmore, Oakland and several others. Also in 1909, GM 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.

The longest-lived continuous automobile nameplate still in production is the Chevrolet Suburban

The next year, Durant started 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. Durant then reorganized General Motors Company into General Motors Corporation in 1916. Shortly after, he again lost control, this time for good, after the new vehicle market collapsed. Alfred P. 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 into the early 1980s when it employed 349,000 workers and operated 150 assembly plants.

GM led global sales for 77 consecutive years from 1931 through 2007, longer than any other automaker. In 2008 and 2009, GM has ranked as the second largest global automaker by sales.[60]

Chapter 11 reorganization

Main article: General Motors Chapter 11 reorganization

On July 10, 2009, General Motors emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization.[5][6][61] GM had filed for Chapter 11 reorganization on June 8, 2009. The Company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange again on November 18, 2010 following a US$33-a-share initial public offering of US$23 billion, including preferred shares. The shareholding in the Company by the U.S. Treasury department is reduced from about 61% to about 33%, including preferred shares and accounting for stock options given to former GM bondholders.[62][63] Disposal of such shares gave the Treasury department about US$13.6 billion in proceeds. It was previously estimated that the Treasury has to sell GM shares at an average of $43.67 a share to break even. SAIC Motor, partner of GM in China and India, acquired just less than 1 percent of the new GM for about $500 million.[64][65]

Brand reorganization

Brand Year Markets
United States Buick 1903 North America, China, Israel, Taiwan
United States Cadillac 1902 Global (except South America, India, South East Asia, Australia)
United States GMC 1901 North America, Middle East
United States Chevrolet 1911 Global (except Australia, New Zealand)
United Kingdom Vauxhall 1925 United Kingdom
Germany Opel 1929 Europe (ex. United Kingdom), Middle East/Africa, Asia/Pacific, South America
Australia Holden 1948 Australia, New Zealand

As part of the company reorganization, the content and the structure of its brand portfolio (its brand architecture) was reorganized.[66] Some nameplates like Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, and service brands like Goodwrench were discontinued. Others, like Saab, were sold.[67] The practice of putting the "GM Mark of Excellence" on every car, no matter what the brand, was discontinued in August, 2009.[68] The company has moved from a corporate-endorsed hybrid brand architecture structure, where GM underpinned every brand to a multiple brand corporate invisible brand architecture structure.[69] The company's familiar square blue "badge" has been removed from the Web site and advertising, in favor of a new, subtle all-text logo treatment.[66] In 2011, GM discontinued the Daewoo brand in South Korea and replaced it with the Chevrolet brand.[70]

Discontinued brands

  • United States Welch (1903–1911)
  • United States Rainier (1905–1911)
  • United States Welch-Marquette (see Marquette)
  • United States Cartercar (1905–1915)
  • United States Elmore (1909–1912)
  • United States Rapid Truck (1909–1912)
  • United States Reliance Truck (1909–1912)
  • United States Welch-Detroit (1910–1911)
  • United States Marquette (1912)
  • United States Peninsular (1912) (see Marquette)
  • United States Samson Tractor (1917–1922)
  • United States Scripps-Booth (1917–1923)
  • United States Marquette (1930)
  • United States Oakland (1909–1931)
  • United States Viking (1929–1931)
  • United States LaSalle (1927–1940)

Former subsidiaries

  • United States Frigidaire (1919–1979), sold to Ohio-based White Consolidated Industries
  • United Kingdom Lotus (1986–1993), sold to Luxembourg-based A.C.B.N. Holdings S.A.
  • Sweden Saab (1989–2010), sold to Dutch sports car manufacturer Spyker Cars N.V.

Former affiliates


See also


Industry associations





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