Barra has been called one of the most prominent global automotive CEOs and has utterly transformed the way GM does business around the world. Under her watch, GM has exited unprofitable markets, ceased manufacturing in a handful of countries—most notably Australia—and rolled out a high-reaching “Triple Zero” vision for the automaker.
The vision, zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, is a hallmark claim from Barra. However, the pie-in-the-sky motif is much further away than touted. One look at the reality of today’s situation shows GM’s triple zero strategy as little more than corporate grandstanding. Not to mention, it copies other companies, specifically German supplier Continental’s “Vision Zero.”
Aside from the vision, Barra has steered GM to record profits and sales as she rounds out her fifth year as CEO at the largest U.S. automaker. Her future test will focus on bringing self-driving cars to reality and delivering on 20 new electric cars by 2023.
On the self-driving car front, Barra doubled down on GM’s doings after purchasing Cruise Automation in 2016 for a reported $1 billion. The company handles most of the automaker’s autonomous vehicle operations and GM plans to commercialize self-driving car technology in 2019 with a ride-sharing service.
To ensure “zero emissions,” Barra will oversee two of the largest vehicle launches on her watch, too: the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and 2019 GMC Sierra. The full-size trucks continue to finance the company’s electric-car program. It remains unclear just how dedicated to electric cars GM is in North America, however, as two of the EVs promised by 2023 were revealed for China only.
Surely, Barra will touch on the talking points in January before handing the stage over to the other keynote speaker of the event: CEO of Renault and chairman of Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors, Carlos Ghosn.