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2015 North American International Auto Show

 

 

GM CEO Mary Barra; Ryan Hunter-Reay wrap up 2015 Automotive News World Congress

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

General Motors CEO Mary Barra shares some smiles at the 2015 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit.

 

by Jerome Rzucidlo
AmericaJR.com Web Team

 

 

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DETROIT -- Last year, we heard from Dan Akerson on his last day as General Motors CEO. This year, Mary Barra was the keynote speaker on the final day of the 2015 Automotive News World Congress held at GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. Keith Crain, Automotive News editor-in-chief, sat at an informal table on stage and asked the questions.

"Let's talk about the cultural change you keep talking about?" Mary Barra answered, "It's not something that happens overnight. Culture is a collection of stories. You create a picture of what a company is about." She explained about changing behaviors. "It's imperative that we work together."

Question: How do you get the word out to Australia all the way to the South Pole that you're gonna change?

Answer: We change the vision of the company. We spent time with the leadership team on where we want to take the company. It's about the customer and building strong brands. We have talked to our employees about behaviors. Our employees saw a change.

Q: How has GM become a different company?

A: Five years ago we were winning awards. Our plan is simple. We are putting vehicles in the marketplace and we are there to win.

Q: Part of the change was getting rid of a lot of brands?

A: I started at Pontiac Motors. What a great place to start and a great car. We represent the market well. We have well-defined brands. I'm comfortable with the hand we have.

Q: What matters to a Cadillac and Chevy buyer?

A: We have to look at key elements from the brand. It's the product, purchase experience with the dealer, sales experience and lifetime ownership.

Q: What's your biggest disappointment? A: I'm not gonna share that.

Q: Were you at all prepared what this was gonna be like?

A: I have a wonderful family who is supportive. My family's proud of me, but Mom is the job they're evaluating me on. There is a lot of support in this community.

Q: Let's talk about the gorilla in the room...the ignition?

A: When you go back to 2002, 03 or 04, in that time frame, there wasn't a good understanding about safety and in this particular situation, a series of mistakes were make. Again, a series of mistakes were made, but we dealt with it. When we made the decision to recall, we jumped into action.

Q: What car do you own?

A: I own a 2007 Chevy Tahoe, a newer Camaro SS, a GMC Sierra Crew Cab that my son drives, and am about to get a Cadillac SRX.

Q: How is GM gonna do this year?

A: We have a detailed plan that we are set on executing.

Q: Do you have to be tough? A: yes, I have to be tough.

Q: Tougher and meaner? A: tougher but not meaner.

Q: Are you having fun?

A: We learned a lot last year. (audience laughs) We never want to forget what happened. I love this business. I think it is an honor to introduce the Bolt to the world.

The Automotive News/PwC Shareholder Value Awards were also announced on Wednesday. The winners were: U.S. Automobile Retailer award went to Lithia Motors, and Asbury Automotive Group. The Global Automotive Parts Suppliers award went to Plastic Omnium and Koito Manufacturing Co., Ltd. The Global Automotive Vehicle Manufacturers award went to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.

BorgWarner CEO James Verrier presented the Borg Warner's Championship Driver's Trophy to last year's Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, and the Borg Warner Championship Team Owner's Trophy, which went to Michael Andretti. He announced that Ryan's 2014 Indy 500 victory was his first. At the finish, Ryan was the clear winner by 600th of a second. At the end, there was an American roar for an American winner. Michael and his team has a great track record. It is a reflection of how winning at Indy can be.

Then there was a short video of the Indianapolis 500 race. Michael came on stage to receive his award and said, "These are special moments for sure. Ryan did a fantastic job in the last six laps." He thanked everyone and said we have a plan to be here next year. Ryan then came on stage to receive his award and said, "This is truly a kid's dream come true. You would be no where without the team behind you. Thanks so much and hopefully we will be here again next year."

For more information about the Automotive News World Congress, visit www.autonews.com.

Related Stories: Buick introduces its first convertible in 25 years -- the Cascada at the 2015 NAIAS; Evolving luxury vehicle market discussed at 27th SAA Auto Outlook Conference

 

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Team Owner Michael Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Once again, Lithia Motors Inc. returned with the U.S. automobile retailer award, a 309-percent shareholder return increase year over year.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Automotive News World Congress took place inside the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

 

PHOTO BY JEROME RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Indianapolis 500 Winner Ryan Hunter-Reay receives the Baby Borg trophy from BorgWarner CEO James Verrier

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Barra gets ready to sit down and chat with Keith Crain

 

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