General Motors CEO Mary Barra ushered in a transformational corporate culture when she took the top spot at the automaker years ago. Since then, she’s dealt with a restructured GM, a massive ignition switch recall crisis and worked to create a leaner automaker across the globe.
Barra still isn’t taking her company’s position for granted, and in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, she said GM needs to “earn our right” to exist in the future.
“We don’t have the right to exist. We have to earn our right to be General Motors and to be able to have the privilege to build cars, trucks, crossovers, and other transportation services by doing a great job and earning customers. And so, really, that’s the transformation we’ve made,” she said.
During the interview, Barra touched on multiple topics, including electric cars, self-driving vehicles and her corporate ethos of “zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.” GM hopes to cash in early on the blossoming mobility sector with self-driving cars and ride-sharing services. The automaker has plans to commercialize self-driving cars in 2019.
On the green front, GM also wants to rid itself of fossil fuels by 2050.
Barra finally spoke of U.S. trade relations with China. The CEO called for a level playing field and for the country to open its markets up. Lower tariffs are a start, she said.
“If you give us a level playing field, we want to compete to win based on merit. I think there’s [an] opportunity there to create a level playing field, which we don’t have today.”