General Motors knows a thing or two about being a disruptive force.
Prior to 1938, cars were simply practical contraptions in the form of horseless carriages. That changed when GM’s Harley Earl turned the industry on its head, shaping the evolution of the car from a utilitarian machine to a work of art. His creation of the Y-Job served as a testing ground for GM’s engineering and styling wish-list. And it wasn’t long until those wishes were granted. The car was the first to have features such as retractable headlamps, power windows, power convertible top and integrated side panels. Many would argue that the Y-Job, and consequently, GM, changed what a car could be and how they were developed.
So it’s no surprise that once again, GM is serving as a disruptive force when it comes to today’s mobility. According to a company statement: “There’s arguably never been a more disruptive time in the auto sector and we are embracing and driving the change. We’re shifting from automaker to global mobility solutions provider and taking advantage of our vehicle and connectivity expertise to develop new services that help make customers’ lives easier.”
A quick look at the company’s website, and you’ll see images of cars that are interwoven into the American automaker industry: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac. But the company is clearly evolving with new models such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the second-generation Chevrolet Volt, and the Malibu Hybrid. In addition, the company has launched numerous innovative mobility initiatives that are certain to impact the industry in a way that only GM can.
“General Motors is committed to transforming transportation, from electrified and fuel-efficient vehicles to mobility services and autonomous cars,” said Bridget Burnell, Global Manager of Environmental Sustainability Initiatives. “In short, we’re on a mission to provide simpler, safer, and better solutions to move humanity forward.”
According to Bridget, this extends to how the company builds their products and how it serves and improves the communities where GM operates. It has also led to the expanded use of renewable energy, a zero-waste mindset and other initiatives that have reduced GM’s resource-consumption worldwide. “We’re creating a purpose-driven culture where employees are part of something bigger and feel connected to the communities,” she said.
GM will be serving as a lounge sponsor for Good Mobility at SB’17 Detroit, where they hope to share their ideas and discuss the concept with others. “GM sees connectivity, car- and ridesharing, and electric and autonomous vehicles as key elements toward a more sustainable future,” said Bridget. “We are committed to immersing ourselves throughout the mobility experience to bring personalized, reliable and convenient personal transportation options and access to people around the world that provide safe and sustainable solutions to mobility challenges today. This is what ‘Good Mobility’ is about.”
As an example, Bridget points to GM’s recent launch of the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the world’s first electric vehicle to combine long range with an affordable price – 238 miles per charge and a starting price of $37,495 before federal and state tax credits of up to $7,500. The company’s goal is to lead in “share of miles driven” irrespective of ownership, as with GM’s Maven car-sharing business. Through the company’s 20 years of OnStar connectivity expertise, GM is helping make car-sharing feel like ownership while providing highly personalized, intuitive and on-demand access to vehicles.
“We believe autonomous vehicles will help reduce congestion, crashes and pollution,” she explained. “We acquired Cruise Automation to leverage its deep software talent and rapid development capability to further accelerate development of AV technology. We also invested $500 million in Lyft to advance ridesharing and ultimately create a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles.”
Michael Arena, Chief Talent Officer for GM, will also be at SB’17 Detroit to lead a session on reinventing brands and will be describing how GM is quickly adapting its business to a changing world. According to Mary Barra, GM’s Chairman and CEO, the auto industry will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50. From electrified and fuel-efficient vehicles to car- and ridesharing services, GM’s goal is to transform transportation and provide mobility solutions for people all over the globe.
“To succeed, we must think and act differently,” said Bridget. “With 225,000 employees, we have a tremendous base of talent working toward our purpose. Our engineers and other technical resources work every day to invent transportation solutions for tomorrow and reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing. Enabling more collaboration among employees is a cornerstone of the transformation, so GM has set out to redesign its work environment at several locations and embed a culture of sustainability into everyone’s work.”
GM will also continue to team up with cities, NGOs, and other stakeholders to collaborate and find solutions to systemic challenges that will better our cities and our world.
“It’s all about doing well by doing good,” she said. “We believe we can strengthen our business while reducing our environmental footprint and maximizing our social impact. Employees want to work for companies that give back, and customers want to buy from businesses whose values match their own.”
Bridget says the company is Redefining the Good Life in three main ways: 1) Mobility solutions that leave a smaller footprint; 2) Manufacturing vehicles in a responsible way; and 3) A mindset that centers on serving and improving communities.
Looks like GM’s second major industry disruption is already well under way.
Join GM and connect with 2,000+ brand and sustainability leaders at SB’17 Detroit this May 22-25, for a collective conversation about how brands and business leaders can shape the next economy!
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