The automotive industry has been playing a leading role in high growth in economies throughout the world since the industrial revolution. It is a sector characterized by not only tremendous potential growth, but also very high profile trade disputes, and intense competition. In the 21st century, the automotive industry confronts greater challenges as the industry undergoes fundamental changes. General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 327,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2005, 9.17 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM operates one of the world’s leading finance companies, GMAC Financial services, which offer automotive, residential and commercial financing and insurance. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. Most of the companies that comprised the young General Motors Company were weak, in debt, and their operations were uncoordinated; GM forged a new concept of management by bringing them under the centralized one. But the key to General Motor’s success was not due to how they produced cars, it was how they were sold – they gave consumers an array of brands, models and colors from which to choose. Innovative sales and management concepts are not the only ways General Motors changed the automotive industry. GM introduced important breakthroughs, including automatic transmissions, power steering, power brakes and fuel-injected engines. General Motors was once the largest corporation in the US and the single largest employer in the world. However, GM has been dealing with financial woes and in November of 2005, they booked a $4 billion loss, lay off about 30,000 employees and closed 12 plants. GM intends to leverage the milestone as a way to promote the company, focusing more on future goals rather than the past. As a large manufacturer, GM continually looks for ways to reduce cycle times, improve employee, partner, and customer satisfaction, and more tightly integrate business processes. But for a large organization dealing with literally hundreds of environments, identity management has loomed as an enormous technical and business issue. In the mid-nineties, GM knew they needed to address this mission-critical issue of identity management. GM's strategy and organization dominated the world auto market until the 1970's when Japanese car companies, Toyota and Honda, appeared on the same field. In less than a decade, the Japanese automakers taken enough market share for America to get truly worried. Japan becomes the world leader in manufacturing though quality management. The Japanese focused on excellence of quality, while the U.S. companies focused on financials. Building high quality cars is a long-term commitment that requires first-rate planning, consistency, and focus. General Motors lost focus decades ago. General Motors which had carefully segmented its brands broadened its Chevrolet, Pontiac and Buick lines until it was impossible to figure out what they were selling. GM changed their strategies and models over and over again. In markets that function properly, focus, planning, and commitment make the difference. The automobile industry may be the most transparent in the world. GM has five key priorities for 2007 that they stay focused on the North America turnaround; they continue to drive aggressively in emerging markets, such as China, Brazil, Russia and India; they maximize the benefits of running the business globally; they build on GM’s comprehensive advanced propulsion strategy; and they continue to improve business results, especially improved earnings and cash flow.
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