It’s no secret that General Motors CEO Mary Barra had a trying first year in her new post. The ignition switch recall that the 53 year-old executive walked into represents perhaps the most grave and highly publicized automotive safety defect in recent memory, Europe continues to be a struggling market for the automaker, and Cadillac’s domestic foothold remains unsound, at best.
But Ms. Barra isn’t focusing on that; she’s looking forward to the tasks at hand, according to Businessweek. The news site reports that the executive is becoming more impatient to make her mark as the months go on: “Last year was a defining moment for the company,” said Barra. “I’ve become more impatient and more determined. Maybe I would have accepted longer timelines to get things done. Well, no more.”
The “things” to get done are, according to the CEO, more ordinary in nature than the disastrous ignition switch debacle. She is placing her focus on increasing vehicle quality, to the point that the automaker can claim to be a “zero-defect company,” and has the aforementioned Cadillac and European issues in her crosshairs.
Ms. Barra’s first move to reinvigorate the Cadillac brand was bringing Johan de Nysschen into the fold, who’s certainly not short on experience with heading up luxury automotive brands. But, she says, we may all have to wait awhile to see any substantial positive effects: “Cadillac at one point in time did stand for luxury of the world. Something doesn’t diminish overnight. It will take time to rebuild it.”
Meanwhile, General Motors lost $844 million in Europe in 2013, followed by $976 million in the first three quarters of 2014, according to Businessweek. So, GM’s Europe operations are also taking on a more central focus, as they continue to represent a weak link in the chain of GM’s global business.
“The main thing is we need to make sure we’re competitive from industry perspective,” said Barra. “And that’s what my focus will be.”