At a Glance
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.
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.
About General Motors LLC
General Motors (GM), one of the world's largest auto manufacturers, makes and sells cars and trucks worldwide under well-known brands such as Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, and Holden. Business divisions GM North America and GM International handle the automotive end of the business while General Motors Financial Co. provides financing services. Looking toward the future of transportation, the company is investing in developing electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles, and it has established a ride-sharing service dubbed Maven. GM's biggest single market is the US, which accounts for about 80% of sales.
General Motors operates through three segments: GM North America (GMNA), GM International (GMI), and GM Financial.
GMNA generates more than 75% of revenue and manufactures vehicles marketed under the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC brands. GMI (15% of sales) sells these same brands to customers outside North America with the addition of the Holden lineup of vehicles. The company also has ownership stakes in companies in China, where vehicles are also made and sold under the local Baojun, Jiefang and Wuling brands.
GM Financial contributes about 10% of the company's total revenue. It provides automotive financing and retail loan and lease lending products and services. It also offers commercial products to dealers such as new and used vehicle inventory financing, inventory insurance, working capital, capital improvement loans, and storage center financing.
The company's GM Cruise unit includes the business operations of its autonomous vehicle technology development, although this segment hasn't yet generated revenue.
Headquartered in Detroit, GM has more than 100 locations in the US engaged in manufacturing, assembly, distribution, warehousing, engineering, and testing. It has locations with similar functions in nearly 35 other countries. Its major facilities outside the US are in Brazil, Canada, China, and Mexico.
GM Financial operates at about 40 locations globally. Some 25 are in the US. The US generates about 80% of GM's overall revenue.
Sales and Marketing
GM's cars and trucks are marketed and sold through a network of more than 12,500 independent distributors, dealers, and authorized sales, service, and parts outlets all over the world. Vehicles are also sold directly to fleet customers, including rental car companies, commercial fleet customers, leasing companies, and governments.
GM is a constant presence on television and other media, spending more than $4 billion a year on advertising.
Since hitting a post-recession high of nearly $156 billion in revenue in 2014, GM's sales have fluctuated at lower levels.
In 2018, the company inched up slightly with a 1% increase to $147.0 billion compared with $145.6 billion in 2017. In North America, increased sales of crossover and fleet vehicles in 2018 were offset by a decrease in sales of passenger cars and mid-size trucks. Sales in GM's international unit were also down due to a facility closure in Korea and the withdrawal from the Indian and South African markets. The decrease was slightly offset by higher sales in Brazil of the Chevrolet Onix, Tracker, and Equinox. GM posted higher revenue in its GM Financial division with increased lease vehicle income and increased income from finance charges.
After a $3.8 billion net loss in 2017 due to charges related to the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the sale of the Opel/Vauxhaul business in Europe, profit rebounded to $8.0 billion in 2018, more in line with GM's typical profit levels.
Cash at the end of fiscal 2018 was $23.5 billion, an increase of $5.6 billion from the prior year. Cash from operations contributed $15.3 billion to the coffers, while investing activities used $20.8 billion, mainly for purchases of property and leased vehicles and investments in securities. Financing activities used another $11.5 billion for dividends to stockholders and the company's stock repurchase program.
GM aims to stay ahead of changing market conditions that have seen sales of compact and mid-sized cars decline as consumers prefer trucks and crossover vehicles. As a result, in late 2018, GM signaled a significant shift in its operations, announcing a massive layoff that included idling five factories in North America and cutting roughly 14,000 jobs—about 10% of its workforce there. The company has faced severe backlash from labor unions, communities, and even the president, over the restructuring efforts. The company believes proceeding with restructuring while the economy is recovering and the company is profitable better positions GM for future growth.
The changes were intended to reduce the production of its smaller vehicles and provide the financial flexibility to double its investment in developing electric and autonomous vehicles. GM is committed to an all-electric future. Its next-generation vehicle technology will be launched in the new Cadillac EV scheduled to debut in 2022. It's also exploring lightweighting its new transmission systems and engines.
Geographically, GM exited the unprofitable European, Indian, and South Africa markets in 2017 and is focused on investing in China and the Americas. In China, it aims to increase the number of nameplates under the Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac brands and continues to grow its business under the local Baojun, Jiefang, and Wuling brands. In 2019, the company invested $2.6 billion in two of its Brazilian plants to build vehicles that will be sold in South America.
In the early years of the auto industry, hundreds of carmakers each produced a few models. William Durant, who bought a failing Buick Motors in 1904, reasoned that manufacturers could benefit from banding together and formed the General Motors Company in Flint, MI in 1908. In 1909, GM purchases Cadillac, AC Spark Plug, and Rapid Motor Vehicle Company. It later developed the General Motors Truck Company (which later became GMC), Chevrolet Motor Company of Michigan, General Motors Export Company, and general Motors of Canada.
After the stock market crash of 1929, GM bought out the Fokker Aircraft Company and the General Motors Aviation Company was launched. During WWII, the company began making military vehicles including trucks, guns, airplane engines, airplanes and parts, tanks, and shells among other products. It also provided the mobility system for the Lunar Roving Vehicle during the 1971 Apollo 15 space mission to the moon.
General Motors has manufactured some of the most popular vehicles ever made including the Cadillac, Corvette, El Camino, Malibu, and Camaro. 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.
300 Renaissance Ctr L1
Detroit, MI 48243-1403
Phone: 1 (313) 410-2704
Employer Type: Privately Owned
Managing Director: Christian Mersmann
Managing Director: Bill Parfitt
Managing Director: Karl Slym
Employees (This Location): 120
Employees (All Locations): 2,390
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