General Motors – Largest American Automobile Manufacturer
IT is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Detroit that designs manufactures markets and distributes vehicles and vehicle parts and sells financial services, with global headquarters in Detroit’s Renaissance Center. It was originally founded by William C. Durant on September 16, 1908 as a holding company.
The company is the largest American automobile manufacturer, and one of the worlds largest. As of 2018, General Motors is ranked #10 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. General Motors manufactures vehicles in 37 countries; its core automobile brands include Chevrolet, Buick GMC and Cadillac.
It also owns or holds controlling interest in foreign brands such as Holden Wuling, Baojun, and Jiefang.
Annual worldwide sales volume reached a milestone of 10 million vehicles in 2016. In addition to its twelve brands, General Motors also holds a 20% stake in IMM, and a 77% stake in GM Korea. It also has a number of joint ventures including Shanghai GM SAIC-GM-Wuling and FAW-GM in China, GM-AvtoVAZ in Russia, GM Uzbekistan, General Motors India, General Motors Egypt, and Isuzu Truck South Africa. General Motors employs 212,000 people and does business in more than 140 countries.
General Motors is divided into four business segments: GM North America (GMNA) GM South America (GMSA) GM International Operations (GMIO) and GM Financial. The company also operates a mobility division called Maven which operates car-sharing services in the United States, and is studying alternatives to individual vehicle ownership.GM Defense is General Motors’ military defense division, catering for the needs of the military for advanced technology and propulsion systems for military vehicles.
General Motors Company was formed on September 16, 1908, in Flint, Michigan, as a holding company controlled by William C. Durant, owner of Buick. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were fewer than 8,000 automobiles in the U.S. and Durant had become a leading manufacturer of horse-drawn vehicles in Flint, in the 1880’s and 1890’s before making his foray into the automotive industry in 1904 by purchasing the fledgling Buick Motor Company.
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. GM 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 along with R. S. McLaughlin 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 next year, Durant started the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in the U.S., and in Canada in 1915, and through this, he secretly purchased a controlling interest in GM.
Durant regained control of the company after one of the most dramatic proxy wars in U.S. business history Durant then reorganized General Motors Company into General Motors Corporation in 1916, merging Chevrolet with GM and merging General Motors of Canada Limited as an ally in 1918. Shortly thereafter, 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 when the seven manufacturing facilities operated by Chevrolet before GM acquired the company began to contribute to GM operations. These facilities were added to the individual factories that were exclusive to Cadillac, Buick Oldsmobile Oakland and other companies acquired by GM. This unprecedented growth of GM would last into the early 1980’s when it employed 349,000 workers and operated 150 assembly plants.
General Motors’ largest market in terms of number of vehicles sold is China. In 2015, the company and its joint ventures sold over 3.612 million vehicles in China alone (5.2% more than in previous year) and captured 14.9% market share.
The main reason behind such GM’s success is its joint ventures in China. The company has in total 11 partnerships in China, which employ over 58,000 employees.
SAIC General Motors Corp., Ltd. (SMG) is the largest of GM China’s ventures jointly created with a key partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC). Both companies and their joint venture SMG control the majority of the other General Motors’ joint ventures in China. SMG is also the largest vehicle producer in China.
A joint venture with local Chinese automotive companies has allowed GM to overcome most of the foreign market entry barriers and accelerated the company’s growth in China. The company gained an access to the local brands and opened the market for its own brands. Few of General Motors’ rivals have succeeded in China so well.
Safety is GM’s main priority when designing and building new vehicles. The company focuses on producing the safest cars in the industry. It is the only automaker to receive five-star safety ratings for 19 of its 2016 vehicle models. Moreover, the company’s is producing some of the eco-friendliest vehicles. General Motors has been granted the most clean-energy patents between all automakers for more than a decade and is using them on building its new electric vehicles. Chevrolet Volt has been awarded the ‘Green Car of the Year’ award for the last two years.
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