GM CEO Dan Akerson will try building cars that buyers want

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 25, 2011

A change has come over General Motors Co. as its 2009 bankruptcy and subsequent restructuring permitted it to get rid of many of its contractual and financial obligations and the company can now focus on its customers. For at least the last two decades, GM’s senior managers prioritized factors other than their customers.

For instance, there are times when its cars would be designed to match the capabilities of its manufacturing plants, or just so that its dealers have something to sell.

GM had to maximize cash instead of the long-term equity of its brands because of its heavy debt load and increasing health-care costs.

In addition, layoffs were discourage in GM's labor contracts. And so these surplus workers built heavily discounted vehicles that consumers didn’t really want. But GM’s situation is different now and this gives new Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson the chance to put the spotlight on its customers.

GM can freely develop cars that are expected to appeal to customers and it can also limit production so that the model will have better pricing.

This lean company also now has the funds to produce new models faster as well as to expand advertising. Joel Ewanick, GM's global chief marketing officer (a new position), revealed that Akerson said that GM has momentum and now faces a “rare opportunity.”

Ewanick added that Akerson sees the importance of being “consumer-centric” and making the company “more of a marketing organization." [via autonews - sub. required]

Topics: gm, ceo, dan akerson

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