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Chuck Stevens, Executive Vice President and CFO at General Motors, realizes that technology advances and innovation are necessary to drive customer engagement at the venerable company.
That is one of the messages Stevens delivered on Wednesday during the Bank of America Merrill Lynch New York Auto Summit.
“Here are the major recurring themes that we took away from our recent discussions with a number of our shareholders,” Stevens said, according to Seeking Alpha. “First, concerns about our ability to lead from a technology and innovation standpoint going forward. Second, our perceived inconsistency in delivering the results. Concern over the potential financial distress GM could face in the downturn and the overall overhang related to our pension under-funded position. Those were the concerns that were raised through our owners over the past couple of months. I thought it would be useful today to provide more context around what we are specifically doing to address these concerns and why they may be overstated.”
Stevens addressed the technology piece.
“First from a technology standpoint, we clearly understand it’s essential that General Motors leads in the right technologies, technologies driven by putting the customer at the center of our strategy,” he explained. “Just a few examples of how we’re demonstrating technology and leadership. Cadillac CT6, which uses advanced mixed material approach for light weight body structure. The Chevrolet Bolt, which will be a game changing electric vehicle; 4G LTE probably the most recognizable example of our technology and leadership, which we launched in our 30 models in the North America last year and will continue to rollout globally, and our Super Cruise system and vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology which is designed to make driving easier and safer. The key takeaway is we are establishing a leadership position across a number of dimensions from the technology and innovation standpoint. A position that will ultimately be recognized and most importantly valued by our customers.”
What’s more, Stevens said some hard decisions were made to further improve the competitiveness of the business, including exiting Chevrolet Europe, CC manufacturing in Australia, Indonesia, and Russia and significantly restructuring operations in Thailand.
“And although we’ve made progress, make no mistake the leadership team understands and clearly recognizes that we have more to do,” Stevens added.
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