GM CEO Mary Barra spoke with CNBC ahead of the automaker’s investor day conference last Friday to dish out our opinion on a wide range of topics. For nearly 10 minutes, she answered questions about GM’s disappointing stock price, how the company plans to create shareholder value, the auto market at large, Cadillac, and self-driving cars.
By and large, GM covered a lot of the information in its investor meeting last Friday. Specifically, GM foresees another strong year for new-vehicle sales and GM CEO Mary Barra is very bullish on GM’s profitability in 2019. The automaker now faces a full year of light-duty truck sales after launching the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and 2019 GMC Sierra. Ditto for the Cadillac XT4 and the Chevrolet Blazer. Additionally, the Cadillac XT6 will reach dealers this year, which also kept her very positive.
On the topic of plant closures, it was also good news from Barra. She did not sound ready to announce additional cuts and said the focus will be on ensuring the thousands of employees transfer to new positions. GM announced it has 2,700 open positions at plants with labor demand. Today, 700 laid off employees are on their way to fill those positions.
Closing the plants permanently will be a different story as GM gears up for labor contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union.
When the conversation shifts to Cadillac, Barra doubled down on the notion that the division will be GM’s electric-car leader. Fellow GM executive Mark Reuss said the brand’s shift to electric cars is the final push to reinvigorate the Cadillac brand in a separate interview this week. We know the brand has an electric SUV in the pipeline with at least 300 miles of range that should debut in 2021.
Barra approached Cruise Automation with a different tone. She was cautious about deploying and commercializing self-driving cars in 2019 as the automaker promised in the past and underscored that safety guides all of Cruise’s future developments.