• General Motors is a household name with well-known brands, such as Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC.
  • The firm recently returned to profitability for the first time since 2004.
  • A recently ratified contract with the UAW was considered favorable to GM, which expects to see labor costs increase by only 1 percent annually.


  • Rising fuel prices, production snags and senior-level management turnover have hurt the company's stock price.
  • GM isn't doing as well as it would like to in Europe and China.
  • Stiff competition from domestic and Japanese auto makers during a period of global economic sluggishness.

The Bottom Line

  • With 202,000 employees on six continents, General Motors is still a giant among companies. However, questions remain over its positioning relative to industry rivals as it seeks regain the confidence of car buyers and investors.


General Motors (GM), one of the world's largest auto manufacturers, makes cars and trucks, with well known brands such as Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC. GM also builds cars through its GM Daewoo, Opel, Vauxhall, and Holden units. The company operates through five business segments: GM North America, GM Europe, GM International Operations, and GM South America. Financing activities are primarily conducted by General Motors Financial Company. The current iteration of GM traces its roots to mid-2009, when the former GM was split into two companies after it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection: General Motors and Motors Liquidation (the name for leftover assets).

Change in Company Type

The auto giant went through a six-week period of bankruptcy protection in 2009. GM was split into two companies when it emerged from Chapter 11 -- General Motors and Motors Liquidation (the name for leftover assets). In 2011 Motors Liquidation sold the majority of its assets, which encompassed almost 90 industrial sites in 14 states, which cleared the way for GM bondholders to receive stock in the new company. 


The company operates through five business segments. GM North America (GMNA) generates 61% of its total sales and has operations in Canada, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the US. GM International Operations (GMIO) operates in the Asia/Pacific, Eastern Europe, and Africa and generates 13% of sales. GM Europe (GME), 13% of sales, caters to Europe and Russia.

GM South America (GMSA), 11% of sales, has operations in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. GM Financial accounts for the remainder of revenue.

Geographic Reach

GM has about 100 locations in Canada and operations in roughly 60 countries. The US generated around 58% of its total sales in 2013.

Sales and Marketing

GM markets its vehicles worldwide primarily through a network of independent distributors, dealers, and authorized sales, service, and parts outlets with a network of over 20,700 dealerships. It spends about $5 billion each year on advertising.

Financial Performance

GM has enjoyed four straight years of revenue growth. Revenues increased 2% from $152.3 billion in 2012 to $155.4 billion in 2013, the highest total since the recession. Its profits, however, decreased 14% from $6.2 billion in 2012 to nearly $5.4 billion in 2013.

It attributed the growth in 2013 to a 70% spike in revenues from its GM Financial segment and a 6% rise from GMNA. The erosion of profits for 2013 was due to a slight rise in expenses related to its GM Financial operations. GM's operating cash flow has been steadily increasing over the last few years, almost doubling from $6.78 billion in 2010 to $12.6 billion in 2013.


GM's efforts to improve its products include developing energy-saving models, such as the Chevrolet Volt, an electric car powered by a lithium-ion battery, introduced in late 2010. The company introduced the Chevrolet Spark electric car in 2013. GM also formed a partnership with Segway to develop a two-wheeled, two-seat electric vehicle. GM also has about 20 FlexFuel cars available in the US.

Like most auto makers, GM is also focusing on its growth in China. It aims to increase the number of nameplates under the Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac brands in China and continue to grow its business under the Baojun, Jiefang, and Wuling brands.

In late 2013 GM company announced plans to cease mainstream distribution of its Chevrolet brand in Western and Central Europe in 2015 due to the challenging business model and difficult economic situation in Europe. The company believes the move will improve its European operations through a further strengthening of its Opel and Vauxhall brands and reduce the market complexity within those regions.

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300 Renaissance Ctr L1
Detroit, MI 48243-1403
Phone: 1 (313) 556-5000


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: GM/WS/A, GM/WS/B, GM/WS/C, GM
  • Stock Exchange: NYSE, NYSE, NYSE, NYSE
  • CEO: Mary T. Barra
  • CEO: Mary T. Barra
  • Chairman: Theodore M. Solso

Major Office Locations

  • Detroit, MI

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