Green is Good: GM Ambitious Ten-Year Plan Signals Major Changes Ahead

Photo: GM

 

Photo: GM

Even though General Motors affirmed their commitment to going electric for years, it was still a surprise when the company laid out their plan for the next decade. It is official, and it is going to take some getting used to. GM is moving beyond vehicles as their core business. Yes, the times they are a’ changin’.

To keep ahead of the rapidly changing industry GM is making bold moves towards future technologies to ensure that they don’t get left in the past. Perhaps boldest of all is GM’s claim that under this new business model they will double their annual revenue to $280 billion by 2030.

Photo: GM

“GM’s vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion has placed us ahead of much of the competition in electrification, software-enabled services and autonomy,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “Our early investments in these growth trends have transformed GM from automaker to platform innovator, with customers at the center. GM will use its hardware and software platforms to innovate and improve their daily experience, leading everybody on the journey to an all-electric future.”

Meaning that GM is changing in a significant way: General Motors is no longer an auto company, at least not in the traditional sense. And it feels strange—and yes, sad–to see one of the Detroit Big Three moves towards such a Silicon Valley direction.

Photo: GM

GM will continue to produce EVs, but they are diversifying their portfolio. Now, they plan to expand their focus on investing in companies in e-mobility. Also, they will put substantial resources into exploring and investing in other growth areas.

So, yeah. All this investing and middleman positioning is a tried-and-true way for corporations to make big bucks, even hitting GM’s lofty figures.

“We will achieve this by growing our core business of designing, building, and selling world-class ICE, electric and autonomous vehicles, growing software and services with high margins and entering and commercializing new businesses,” said Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson

Other areas where GM is going all in include connected vehicle platforms such as OnStar and OnStar Insurance. Autonomous technology is another hot property for GM. They have teamed with commercial EV ventures such as BrightDrop– a delivery business. Among their investments are 20 new startup businesses.

But GM is still planning on building EV vehicles and employing technologies that drivers want. Starting with the Ultium platform, which underpins EV architecture. Additionally, the company will promote driver-assistance systems, hands-free technology, and HYDROTEC fuel cell technology.

Photo: GM

No hourly workers will lose their jobs, and GM is hiring salaried employees with technology and digital software experience.

“Late last year, we hired 3,000 employees and this year alone we’ve hired 8,000 salaried workers especially in the technology, digital and the software space,” Barra said. “When we talked about getting to carbon neutral by 2040, people said, ‘I want to be a part of that’ and we saw the number of applications go up.’ ”

As the blue bowtie goes green, we can’t help feeling a little disappointed in some of their choices. In GM’s shift from vehicles to all manner of technology, we are left feeling a little cold. After generations as a major force behind some of the most iconic cars, we had hoped that the automaker—or platform company—might be more involved in defining these new vehicles.

Life many in the industry, GM is at an inflection point. It is getting Darwinian, and the industry will need to evolve. But we hope the passion for automotive design and performance doesn’t get overshadowed by the drive for bigger profits.

Some of the most thrilling rides we’ve seen in the last few years are EVs and hybrids. With new technology comes new challenges. And now is the time to rise to the occasion, embrace the tech in an organic and effective way, and roll out great-looking vehicles that make us want to always take the long way home.

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