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General Motors Company
Type Limited Liability Company
Founded Flint, Michigan (1908)
Founder(s) William C. Durant
Headquarters Renaissance Center
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Area served Worldwide
Key people Edward Whitacre, Jr.
(Chairman and CEO)[1]
Industry Automotive
Products Automobiles
Revenue US$ 148.979 billion (2008)[2]
Operating income - 21.284 billion (2008)[2]
Net income US$ −30.9 billion (2008)[2]
Total assets US$ 91.047 billion (2008)[2]
Total equity US$ −86.154 billion (2008)[2]
Owner(s) United States Department of the Treasury (61%)
United Auto Workers Union
Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (17.5%)
Government of Canada (7.9%)[3]
Government of Ontario (3.8%)[3]
Bond holders of Motors Liquidation Company (9.8%)
Employees 244,500 (2009)[4]
Divisions Buick
Subsidiaries AC Delco
Adam Opel GmbH
Vauxhall Motors
GMAC (less than 10%[5])
General Motors Canada
General Motors do Brasil
General Motors India
Global Hybrid Cooperation
General Motors South Africa

GM Daewoo (70.1%)
GM Holden Ltd
GM Performance Division
Shanghai GM (50%)

SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Joint venture in China

General Motors Company, also known as GM, is a United States based automaker with headquarters in Detroit, Michigan.

By sales, GM ranked as the largest U.S. automaker and the world's second largest for 2008.[6] GM had the third highest 2008 global revenues among automakers on the Fortune Global 500.[6][7] GM manufactures cars and trucks in 34 countries, recently employed 244,500 people around the world, and sells and services vehicles in some 140 countries.[6]

On June 1, 2009 General Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings from which it emerged on July 10, 2009 in a reorganization in which a new entity acquired the most valuable assets. GM is temporarily majority owned by the United States Treasury and to a smaller extent the Canadian government,[3][8][9] with the US government investing a total of US$57.6 billion under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.[10]

While no GM shares are currently available to the public, the company plans an initial public stock offering (IPO) in 2010.[11]

GM plans to focus its business on its four core US brands: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC. In Europe, following a period of negotiation to sell a majority stake in its Opel and Vauxhall brands, GM decided to retain full ownership of these operations.[12]

On February 23, 2010, GM sold Saab Automobile to Spyker Cars NV[13]. GM is winding down its Hummer, Pontiac, and Saturn brands, the latter two remaining under the old GM, now known as Motors Liquidation Company.


Company overview

General Motors GMT800 truck assembly line.

In 2009, General Motors employs approximately 244,500 people around the world. The Renaissance Center located in Detroit, Michigan, United States, is the global headquarters of General Motors. In 2008, GM sold 8.35 million cars and trucks globally.[14] GM is the majority shareholder in GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. of South Korea and has collaborations with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation of China, AvtoVAZ of Russia, and most recently, UzAvtoSanoat of Uzbekistan. GM has had collaborations with various automakers including Fiat (see GM/Fiat Premium platform) and Ford Motor Company.[citation needed] GM retains various stakes in different automakers. General Motors' best success internationally has unquestionbly been its performance in China, GM sales rose 66.9% in 2009, selling 1,830,000 vehicles and accounting for 13.4% of the market.[15]

GM received loans from European governments in 2009, and has reduced its ownership stake in European operations as part of its reorganization."[16] As of July 10, 2009, the new GM has over $40 B in cash, with the company's reorganized liability total of $48.8 B which includes $24.4 B to be paid to the Voluntary Employee Benefits Association (VEBA) trust, $9 B to the U.S. and Canadian governments, and $15 B in liabilities to suppliers and other bills. GM is slated to pay $10 B to the VEBA trust in December 2009, with the remainder being paid in increments from 2012-19. GM isn't required to make contributions to its pension fund until 2013, but it may elect to if needed, since the company contribued $15.2 B to its pension fund in 2003. Stock market conditions cause the fund value to fluctuate. In February 2009, GM's combined pension fund had about $85 B in assets, $56B in assets for hourly pensions and $29B in assets for salaried pensions.[17] The domain name attracted at least 7 million visitors annually by 2008.[18]

GM worldwide vehicle sales by country 2008[19]
in GM
Country Vehicle
share (%)
in GM
Country Vehicle
share (%)
 United States 2,981
 Australia 133
 China 1,095
 Republic of Korea 117
 Brazil 549
 France 114
 United Kingdom 384
 Spain 107
 Canada 359
 Argentina 95
 Russia 338
 Venezuela 91
 Germany 300
 Colombia 80
 Mexico 212
 India 66
Top 4 markets/regions by vehicle sales in 2008 (thousands)
North America 3,552
European Union 905
China 1,095
South America 815


General Motors is structured into the following operating groups:

Group Number of employees
March 2009
GMAP (GM Asia-Pacific) 33,000
GME (GM Europe) no longer exists. 55,000
GM LAAM (GM Latin America, Africa and the Middle East) 33,000
GMNA (GM North America) 112,000
Other operations 2,000
Total number of employees 235,000


The Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, is the world headquarters of General Motors.

On July 23, 2009, GM announced its new Board of Directors: Daniel F. Akerson, David Bonderman, Robert D. Krebs, Patricia F. Russo and Ed Whitacre (GM Chairman & Interim CEO) Board members who are not GM employees will be paid US$200,000 annually.[21]

As of December 1, 2009, The General Motors Board Of Directors accepted Frederick Henderson's resignation. In January 2010, chairman Ed Whitacre was appointed permanent CEO after previously serving in an interim capacity.[1]

On December 4, 2009, GM announced leadership changes in a press release.

  • Edward Whitacre, Jr. - Chairman of the Board of the Directors and CEO
  • Robert A. Lutz - Vice Chairman, advisor on design and global product development [22]
  • Chris Liddell - Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer [23]
  • Thomas G. Stephens - Vice Chairman, Global Product Operations [24]
  • Mark Reuss - President, GM North America [25]
  • David N. Reilly - President, GM Europe [26]
  • Timothy E. Lee - President, GM International Operations (Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa, and Middle East) [27]
  • Ray Young - vice president, International Operations [28][29]
  • Edward T. Welburn - Global Vice President of General Motors Design, current and only the sixth head designer.[30]

For additional Senior Management see GM Senior Leadership Group

General Motors is a conglomerate.


General Motors was founded on September 16, 1908, in Flint, Michigan, as a holding company for Buick, then controlled by William C. Durant. General Motors Co-Founder was Charles Stewart Mott, whose carriage company was merged into GM at the time of its creation. Over the years Mott became the largest single stockholder in GM and spent his life with his Mott Foundation, whose benefit was shone on the City of Flint, Michigan, his adopted home. It acquired Oldsmobile later that year. In 1909, Durant brought in Cadillac, Elmore, Oakland and several others. Also in 1909, General Motors acquired the Reliance Motor Truck Company of Owosso, Michigan, and the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company of Pontiac, Michigan, the predecessors of GMC Truck. Durant 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 and through this he secretly purchased a controlling interest in GM. Durant took back control of the company after one of the most dramatic proxy wars in American business history. Durant then reorganized General Motors Company into General Motors Corporation.[31] Shortly after, 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. This unprecedented growth of GM would last into the early 1980s when it employed 349,000 workers and operated 150 assembly plants.

GM previously led in global sales for 77 consecutive years (1931 to 2008), longer than any other automaker.[6]

Chapter 11 reorganization

On July 10, 2009, a new entity, NGMCO Inc. purchased the ongoing operations and trademarks from General Motors Corporation.[32] The purchasing company in turn changed its name from NGMCO Inc. to General Motors Company, marking the emergence of a new operation from the "pre-packaged" Chapter 11 reorganization.[33][34][35] Under the reorganization process, termed a 363 sale (for Section 363 which is located in Title 11, Chapter 3, Subchapter IV of the United States Code, a part of the Bankruptcy Code), the purchaser of the assets of a company in bankruptcy proceedings is able to obtain approval for the purchase from the court prior to the submission of a re-organization plan, free of liens and other claims. It’s used in most Chapter 11 cases that involve a sale of property or other assets. This process is typical of large organizations with complex branding and intellectual property rights issues upon exiting bankruptcy.[36][37][38][39] The new company plans to issue an initial public offering (IPO) of stock in 2010.[40]

GM's remaining pre-petition creditors' claims are paid from the remaining assets of Motors Liquidation Company, the new name of the former General Motors Corporation, although the directors of that company believe its debts far outweigh its assets.[35][40] This means that while the former GM's bondholders may recover a small portion of their investment, former GM shareholders (now shareholders of Motors Liquidation Company) will likely not receive anything.[41]

Also on July 10, 2009, GM announced plans to trim its U.S. workforce by 20,000 employees as part of its reorganization by the end of 2009 due to economic conditions.[42]

The following table is a comparison (estimates) of the new GM and the old GM:

Old GM (before July 10, 2009) New GM (after July 10, 2009)
Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMDaewoo (48.2%), GMC, Holden, Hummer, Oldsmobile, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall Brands Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMDaewoo (70.1%), GMC, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall
5,900 US Dealerships 3,600
Common shareholders, bondholders and secured creditors Ownership The United States Treasury, the Crown in Right of Canada, Old GM bondholders, and UAW union
47 US Plants 34
US$94.7 B Debt[43] US$17 B
91,000 US employees 68,500

North America

Core brand focus

In North America, GM will focus primarily on its four core brands — Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC — while selling, discontinuing, or scaling back its other brands. The White House characterized the GM restructuring as a shift toward a new leaner, greener GM, which will aim to break even with annual sales much lower than previously stated.[44] President Obama declared that the restructuring "will mark the end of an old GM, and the beginning of a new GM; a new GM that can produce the high-quality, safe, and fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow; that can lead America towards an energy independent future; and that is once more a symbol of America's success."[45]

In the middle of 2005, GM announced that its corporate chrome emblem "Mark of Excellence" would begin appearing on all recently introduced and all-new 2006 model vehicles produced and sold in North America. However, in 2009 the "New GM" reversed this, saying that emphasis on its four core brands would dictate downplaying the GM name.[46]

Production of SUVs and trucks vs. cars

In the late 1990s, the U.S. economy was on the rise and GM and Ford gained market share producing enormous profits primarily from the sale of light trucks and sport-utility vehicles.

Following the September 11 attacks, a severe stock market decline caused a pension and benefit fund underfunding crisis. GM began its Keep America Rolling campaign, which boosted sales, and other auto makers were forced to follow suit. The U.S. automakers saw sales increase to leverage costs as gross margins deteriorated.

In 2004, GM redirected resources from the development of new sedans to an accelerated refurbishment of their light trucks and SUVs for introduction as 2007 models in early 2006. Shortly after this decision, fuel prices increased by over 50% and this in turn affected both the trade-in value of used vehicles and the perceived desirability of new offerings in these market segments. The current marketing plan is to tout these revised vehicles extensively as offering the best fuel economy in their class (of vehicle). GM claims its hybrid trucks will have fuel economy improvements of 25%.


U.S. sales figures

Calendar Year Total U.S. sales Chg/yr.
1998[47] 4,603,991
1999 5,017,150 9.0%
2000[48] 4,953,163 1.3%
2001 4,904,015 1.0%
2002 4,858,705 0.9%
2003 4,756,403 2.1%
2004[49] 4,707,416 1.0%
2005 4,517,730 4.0%
2006[50] 4,124,645 8.7%
2007 3,866,620 6.3%
2008[51] 2,980,688 22.9%
2009[52] 2,084,492 30.1%

In 2005, GM promoted sales through an "employee discount" to all buyers. Marketed as the lowest possible price, GM cleared an inventory buildup of 2005 models to make way for its 2006 lineup.

SUV sales

In 2008, rapidly rising gasoline prices resulted in a 30% drop-off of sales of SUVs. These had been GM's most profitable product, often returning profits of US$10,000 to US$15,000 per vehicle. Sales of SUVs had been decreasing since 2004, and in May 2008, a US$2 billion investment program for a new SUV platform, the CXX program, was canceled.[53] During the first 6 months of 2008, GM lost $18.8 billion; by late October, its stock had dropped 76%, and it was considering a merger with Chrysler. In only 12 months (October 2007-2008), GM sales in the US dropped 45 percent.[54] GM's concentration on SUVs as a profit center dated from the 1990s.[55]

General Motors plant in (in Arlington, Texas) produces its largest SUVs.[56] On Tuesday, December 23, 2008, the Janesville, Wisconsin plant, which produced the Chevrolet Tahoe, the Suburban, and the GMC Yukon, and the Moraine, Ohio plant which produced the Chevrolet Blazer and the GMC Envoy idled production. GM has yet to confirm future product plans for the idled facilities.

Small car sales

"As part of General Motors Company (GM)'s restructuring, it plans to revive one of its idled U.S. factories for the production of a small car (the factories under consideration included one in or near the cars in busville and Orion Township areas of Michigan, one in Wisconsin, and one in Tennessee; the factory in Michigan was ultimately selected to be revived, but only 1,200 out of a former 3,400 jobs will be left). The new small car will add to a group of small and fuel-efficient vehicles that the company is planning to roll out in the near future. The retooled plant will be capable of building 160,000 cars annually, including both small and compact vehicles.[57]


In March 2005, the Canadian Crown-in-Council provided C$200 million in incentives to General Motors for its Ontario plants to expand production and provide jobs, according to Jim Harris.[citation needed] Similar incentives were promised to non-North American auto companies like Toyota. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, said the money pledged for the project by the provincial Crown of Ontario and by the federal government was well spent.[58]


The Buick brand is especially strong in China, led by the Buick Excelle subcompact. The last emperor of China owned a Buick.[59] The Cadillac brand was introduced in China in 2004, starting with imports from the United States. GM pushed the marketing of the Chevrolet brand in China in 2005 as well, moving the former Buick Sail to that marque. The company manufactures most of its China market vehicles locally through Shanghai GM, a joint venture with the Chinese company SAIC, which was created on March 25, 1997. The Shanghai GM plant was officially opened on December 15, 1998, when the first Chinese-built Buick came off the assembly line. The SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile joint-venture is also successfully selling trucks and vans under the Wuling marque (34% owned by GM).

GM plans to invest $250m to create a research facility in Shanghai to develop hybrid cars and alternative fuel vehicles.[citation needed]

Labor relations

On September 24, 2007 General Motors workers represented by the United Auto Workers union went on the first nationwide strike against GM since 1970. The ripple effect of the strike reached into Canada the following day as two car assembly plants and a transmission facility were forced to close. Overnight a tentative agreement was reached, however, and UAW officials declared the end of the strike in a news conference at 4 a.m. on September 26. By the following day, all GM workers in both countries were back to work.

A new labor contract was ratified by UAW members exactly one week after the tentative agreement was reached, passing by a majority 62% vote. In the contract are several product and employment guarantees stretching well into the next decade. One of GM's key future products, the Chevy Volt, was promised to the GM Poletown/Detroit-Hamtramck plant in 2010. Also included is a VEBA (Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association) which will transfer retiree health care obligations to the UAW by 2010. This eliminates more than $50 billion from GM's healthcare tab. It will be funded by $30 billion in cash and $1.4 billion in GM stock paid to the UAW over the next four years of the contract. It also eliminates 70% of the labor cost gap with GM's Japanese rivals.

A strike at American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings Inc. will result in lost production of an additional 230,000 vehicles in the second quarter, with an estimated $1.8 billion impact on earnings before tax, and a total strike cost of $2.81 billion.[60]

Together with the United Auto Workers, GM created a joint venture dedicated to the quality of life needs of employees in 1985. The UAW-GM Center for human resources in Detroit is dedicated to providing GM salaried employees and GM UAW members programs and services related to medical care, diversity issues, education, training and tuition assistance, as well as programs related to work and family concerns, in addition to the traditional union-employer health and safety partnership.[61]

2008 Canadian Auto Workers bargaining

In an unusual move, GM Canada and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union ratified a new collective bargaining contract in May 2008, four months before the expiration of the existing contract. As part of the agreement, among other production commitments, GM pledged to maintain production at the Oshawa, Ontario pickup truck plant. Less than three weeks later, GM announced that rising gasoline prices and falling truck sales made it necessary to close certain truck and SUV plants, including the Oshawa pickup plant.[62] In response, CAW members staged a 12-day blockade of the GM Canada headquarters. After further discussions with the CAW, GM agreed to compensate workers at the truck plant, as well as making product commitments for the Oshawa car assembly plant.[63]

Labor costs

GM announced elimination of lifetime health benefits for about 100,000 of its white collar retirees at the end of 2008.[64]

Auto racing

General Motors has an extensive history in numerous forms of racing. In particular, the Chevrolet Corvette has long been popular and successful in international road racing. GM also is a supplier of racing components, such as engines, transmissions, and electronics equipments.

GM's Oldsmobile Aurora engine platform was successful in the Indy Racing League (IRL) throughout the 1990s, winning many races in the small V-8 class. GM has also done much work in the development of electronics for GM auto racing. An unmodified Aurora V-8 in the Aerotech, captured 47 world records, including the record for speed endurance in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Recently, the Cadillac V-Series has entered motorsports racing. GM has also used many cars in the American racing series NASCAR. Currently the Chevrolet Impala is the only entry in the series but in the past the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Regal, Oldsmobile Cutlass, Chevrolet Lumina, Chevrolet Malibu, and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo were also used.

In touring cars (mainly in Europe), Vauxhall is a key player and former champion in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) series and competes with a Vauxhall Vectra in Super 2000 spec, although have announced plans to withdraw at the end of 2009. Opel used to participate in the DTM series and also in the 1980s in the World Rally Championship and other Rally Series with Group B Spec Opel Manta's before this category of Rallying was banned. Chevrolet competes with a Chevrolet Cruze in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). Tempus Sport and RML also compete with privately run Lacettis in the BTCC.

In Australia, there is the prestigious V8 Supercar Championship which is battled out by the two main rivals of Holden and Ford. The current Holden Racing Team cars are based on the Holden Commodore and run a 5.0-litre V8-cylinder engine producing 635 bhp (474 kW). These cars have a top speed of 294 km/h (183 mph) and run 0–100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. The Holden Racing Team is Australia's most successful team in Australian Touring Car History. In 2006 & 2007, the Drivers championship was won by the very closely linked HSV Dealer Team.

Alternative propulsion initiatives

The company has long worked on alternative-technology vehicles, and has recently led the industry with ethanol burning flexible-fuel vehicles that can run on either E85 (ethanol) or gasoline. The company was the first to use turbochargers and was an early proponent of V6 engines in the 1960s, but quickly lost interest as the muscle car race took hold. They demonstrated[65] gas turbine vehicles powered by kerosene, an area of interest throughout the industry, but abandoned the alternative engine configuration in view of the 1973 oil crisis. In the 1970s and 1980s, GM pushed the benefits of diesel engines and cylinder deactivation technologies with disastrous results due to poor durability in the Oldsmobile diesels and drivability issues in the Cadillac V8-6-4 variable cylinder engines. In 1987, GM, in conjunction with AeroVironment, built the Sunraycer, which won the inaugural World Solar Challenge and was a showcase of advanced technology. Much of the technology from Sunraycer found its way into the Impact prototype electric vehicle (also built by Aerovironment) and was the predecessor to the General Motors EV1.

GM supported a compromise version of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard increase from 27 mpg-US (8.7 L/100 km; 32 mpg-imp) to 35 mpg-US (6.7 L/100 km; 42 mpg-imp), the first such increase in over 20 years.[66]

Hybrid electric initiative

In May 2004, GM delivered the world's first full sized hybrid pickups, the 1/2-ton Silverado/Sierra. These hybrids did not use electrical energy for propulsion, like GM's later designs. In 2005, the Opel Astra diesel Hybrid concept vehicle was introduced. The 2006 Saturn Vue Green Line was the first hybrid passenger vehicle from GM and is also a mild design. GM has hinted at new hybrid technologies to be employed that will be optimized for higher speeds in freeway driving.

GM currently offers two types of hybrid systems. The first type, used in the Saturn Vue, Saturn Aura, and Chevrolet Malibu, is what GM calls the BAS Hybrid system a type of mild hybrid which was canceled in 2009. The second hybrid drive system, co-developed with Daimler AG and BMW, is called a "Two-Mode Hybrid". The two-mode is used by the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon and will later be used on the Saturn Vue (cancelled), Cadillac Escalade, GM 1/2-ton pickups and possibly other vehicles.[67]

GM's current hybrid electric models:

GM has recently introduced the concept cars Chevrolet Volt and Opel Flextreme, which are electric vehicles with back-up generators, powered by gasoline, E85, or fuel cells. According to GM, a production Chevrolet Volt will be available by late 2010 as a 2011 model.

The GM Magic Bus is a hybrid powered bus.[68]

GM sold 843 hybrids of all types during the first quarter of 2008, according to the industry newspaper Automotive News. Compare that with Ford, which sold 5,225 hybrids during that time. CSM Worldwide, expects GM to seriously increase its hybrid output, turning the automaker into a serious contender within the next few years. He expects it to produce 40,000 to 50,000 hybrids this year, more than doubling last year's production.[69]

All-electric vehicles

Electric car EV1 shown plugged into charging station

GM was the first American company (in the modern era) to release an all-electric automobile. In 1990, GM debuted the revolutionary "Impact" concept car at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It was the first car with zero-emissions marketed in the US in over three decades. The Impact was eventually produced as the EV1 for the 1996 model year. It was available through dealers located in only a few regions (e.g., California, Arizona, Georgia). Vehicles were leased, rather than sold, to individuals. In 2003 GM decided to cease production of the vehicles.

General Motors has announced that it is building a prototype two-seat electric vehicle with Segway. An early prototype of the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility vehicle—dubbed Project P.U.M.A. -- will be shown off in New York a day ahead of the press previews for the 2009 New York International Auto Show.[70]

On September 16, 2008, as part of its 100th anniversary celebration, GM unveiled the "production" version of the Chevrolet Volt at the GM headquarters in Detroit.[71]

Battery packs for electric vehicles

GM will build battery packs with LG Chem in Michigan. GM also plans to build an automotive battery laboratory in Michigan.[72] GM will take full responsibility for all the battery management systems and power electronics. The company will build a new factory in Michigan, but a specific site has yet to be announced, in part because negotiations are ongoing with state and local authorities on the usual financial incentives and approvals. LG Chem's US subsidiary, Compact Power of Troy, Michigan, has been building the prototype packs for the development vehicles and will continue to provide integration support and act as a liaison for the program.

Hydrogen initiative

Sequel, a fuel cell-powered vehicle from GM.

GM has prided its research and prototype development of hydrogen powered vehicles, to be produced in early 2010, using a support infrastructure still in a prototype state. The economic feasibility of the technically challenging hydrogen car, and the low-cost production of hydrogen to fuel it, has also been discussed by other automobile manufacturers such as Ford and Chrysler.

In June 2007, Larry Burns, vice president of research and development, said he's not yet willing to say exactly when hydrogen vehicles will be mass produced, but he said it should happen before 2020, the year many experts have predicted. He said "I sure would be disappointed if we weren't there" before 2020.[73]

Flexible-fuel vehicles

North American market

The E85, FlexFuel, Chevrolet Impala LT 2009.

GM produces several flexible-fuel vehicles that can operate on E85 ethanol fuel or gasoline, or any blend of both. Since 2006 GM started featuring a bright yellow gas cap to remind drivers of the E85 capabilities,[74][75][76][77] and also using badging with the text "Flexfuel/E85 Ethanol" to clearly mark the car as an E85 FFV.[78][79]

GM is the North American leader in E85 flex fuel vehicles, with over 3 million FlexFuel vehicles on the road in the U.S. As of 2009, GM offers 18 ethanol-enabled FlexFuel cars and trucks in the US, and produce more than one million new FlexFuel vehicles. GM's goal is to have half of their annual vehicle production be E85 or biodiesel capable by 2012.[80]

Despite the significant amount of flex fuel vehicles sold in the US and Canada, the percentage of users actually using ethanol has been very low as many owners are not aware they owned an E85 flex or not enough E85 fueling stations are available nearby, except for the Corn Belt states, where there is a great concentration of E85 stations, as most corn ethanol is produced there.[81][82] A 2005 survey found that 68% of American flex-fuel car owners were not aware they owned an E85 flex.[83] Several critics have argued that GM and the other American automakers have been producing E85 flex models motivated by a loophole in the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) requirements, that allows for a fuel economy credit for every flex-fuel vehicle sold, whether or not in practice these vehicles are fueled with E85.[82][84][85] This loophole might have allowed the car industry to meet the CAFE targets in fuel economy just by spending between USD 100 to USD 200 that it cost to turn a conventional vehicle into a flex-fuel, without investing in new technology to improve fuel economy, and saving them the potential fines for not achieving that standard in a given model year.[84][86]

Brazilian market

GM's largest overseas subsidiary is General Motors do Brasil, which started producing flexible-fuel vehicles since its inception in the Brazilian market in 2003. Like other Brazilian flex-fuel vehicles, GM's flex fuel cars and light-duty trucks are optimized to run on any mix of E20-E25 gasoline and up to 100% hydrous ethanol fuel (E100).[83] GM launched its first flex fuel in June 2003, the Chevrolet Corsa 1.8 FlexPower, just two months after the first flex car was launched by another Brazilian carmaker.[87][88]

GM do Brasil also introduced the MultiPower engine in August 2004, which was capable of using natural gas (CNG), ethanol and gasoline (E20-E25 blend) as fuel, and it was used in the multifuel Chevrolet Astra 2.0 model 2005, aimed at the local taxi cab market.[89][90] The Brazilian GM Powertrain unit also developed the EconoFlex technology, used for the first time in the Chevrolet Prisma 1.4, which allows the flex fuel engine to maximize fuel economy and power.[91]

Due to the success and rapid consumer acceptance of the flex versions, GM sold 192,613 flex vehicles and 135,636 gasoline-powered automobiles in 2005,[92] jumping to 501,681 flex-fuel vehicles, while only 949 cars and 6,834 light trucks powered by gasoline were sold in 2007,[93] and reaching new car sales of 535.454 flex fuels in 2008, representing 97 percent of all cars and light duty trucks sold in that year.[94]


Since 1996, General Motors has been the exclusive source of funding for Safe Kids USA's "Safe Kids Buckle Up" program, a national initiative to ensure child automobile safety through education and inspection.[95] Through 2002, the Pace Awards program led by GM, EDS, and SUN Microsystems, gave over $1.2 billion of in-kind contributions which includes computers to over 18 universities to support engineering education.[96] In 2009, the GM led group has helped the Pace Awards program worldwide.[97] General Motors is a leading contributor to charity. In 2004, GM gave $51,200,000 in cash contributions and $17,200,000 in-kind donations to charitable causes.[98]


In the 2008 election cycle, General Motors contributed $802,414, with 52% of that amount going to the Democrats and 48% to the Republicans.[99] GM's Saturn division put up a display at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show congratulating Barack Obama on his election as the first African-American president of the United States.[100]

Environmental issues

In the middle of 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) removed 23,000 cubic yards (18,000 m3) of contaminated sediments and soil from the General Motors site in Massena, New York for disposal at a licensed facility in Utah. The amount contained 13,000 cubic yards (9,900 m3) of contaminated sediments dredged from the St. Lawrence River. The sediments had been stored on the site since 1995. There was also 10,000 cubic yards (7,600 m3) of contaminated sludge from the active wastewater treatment plant on the General Motors property.[101] The Political Economy Research Institute ranks GM 18th among corporations emitting airborne pollutants in the United States. The ranking is based on the emission quantity (8 million pounds in 2005) and toxicity.[102]

In September 2006, the state of California filed suit against General Motors, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, and Ford. The companies were accused of producing cars that emitted over 289 million metric tons of carbon per year in the United States, accounting for nearly 20% of carbon emissions in the United States and 30% of carbon emissions in California. This lawsuit was dismissed by a judge in September 2007.[103]

The Union of Concerned Scientists ranked General Motors as seventh out of the eight world's largest automakers in 2007 for environmental performance. The report noted that GM manufactured the most vehicles achieving 30 mpg-US (7.8 L/100 km; 36 mpg-imp) or better, but also the most vehicles under 15 mpg-US (16 L/100 km; 18 mpg-imp).[104]


Current brands

Marque Years used Markets
United States Buick 1908–present North America, China, Israel, Taiwan
United States Cadillac 1909–present Global (except South America, India, SE Asia, Australia)
United States GMC 1912–present North America, Middle East
United States Chevrolet 1917–present Global (except Australia)
United Kingdom Vauxhall 1925–present United Kingdom
Germany Opel 1929–present Europe (except UK), Russia, South Africa, Middle East, Singapore
Australia Holden 1948–present Australia, New Zealand, Middle East (not Kuwait),[105] South Korea, South Africa, UK, Japan (by Autoprestige)
South Korea Daewoo 2002–present South Korea, Latin America, Europe

Discontinued brands

Sold brands

Former affiliates


See also


Books and films

  • Final Offer – 1985 Canadian TV documentary that shows the 1984 GM contract negotiations that resulted in the union split of the Canadian arm of the UAW.
  • Roger & Me – 1989 American documentary film directed by independent filmmaker/author Michael Moore (his first). The film criticizes General Motors for closing down its factories in Moore's home-town of Flint, Michigan, despite record profits. After many Flint residents lose jobs at GM, Moore claims, the town descends into economic chaos.
  • Who Killed the Electric Car? – 2006 documentary film written and directed by Chris Paine that explores the creation, limited commercialization, and subsequent destruction of the battery electric vehicle in the U.S., specifically the General Motors EV1 of the 1990s.

Industry associations






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Further reading

  • Barabba, Vincent P. (2004). Surviving Transformation: Lessons from GM's Surprising Turnaround. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195171419. OCLC 474580094. 
  • Chandler, Alfred D., Jr. (1964). Giant Enterprise: Ford, General Motors, and the Automobile Industry. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World. ISBN 9780405133497. OCLC 63017200. 
  • Cray, Ed (1980). Chrome Colossus: General Motors and Its Times. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780070134935. OCLC 6223723. 
  • Farber, David R. (2002). Sloan Rules: Alfred P. Sloan and the Triumph of General Motors. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226238043. OCLC 49558636. 
  • Gustin, Lawrence R. (2008) [1973]. Billy Durant: Creator of General Motors. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 9780472033027. OCLC 179794253. 
  • Halberstam, David (1986). The Reckoning. A Thomas Congdon book. New York: Morrow. ISBN 9780688048389. OCLC 246158814. 
  • Keller, Maryann (1989). Rude Awakening: The Rise, Fall, and Struggle for Recovery of General Motors. New York: Morrow. ISBN 9780688075279. OCLC 423222597. 
  • Kimes, Beverly Rae (editor) (1989). The Standard Catalogue of American Cars 1805-1942, 2nd edition. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-111-0. 
  • Leslie, Stuart W. (1983). Boss Kettering. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231056007. OCLC 8845819. 
  • Maxton, Graeme P.; Wormald, John (2004). Time for a Model Change: Re-Engineering the Global Automotive Industry. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521837156. OCLC 54826137. 
  • Maynard, Micheline (2003). The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market. New York: Currency/Doubleday. ISBN 9780385507691. OCLC 52623614. 
  • Pelfrey, William (2006). Billy, Alfred, and General Motors: The Story of Two Unique Men, a Legendary Company, and a Remarkable Time in American History. New York: AMACOM. ISBN 9780814408698. OCLC 61362777. 
  • Rae, John Bell (1965). The American Automobile; A Brief History. The Chicago history of American civilization. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. OCLC 236834. 
  • Sloan, Alfred P., Jr. (1990) [1963]. McDonald, John; Stevens, Catharine. eds. My Years with General Motors. New York: Doubleday/Currency. ISBN 9780385042352. OCLC 21376376. 
  • Weisberger, Bernard A. (1979). The Dream Maker: William C. Durant, Founder of General Motors. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316928748. OCLC 5736758. 

External links


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