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The General Motors Company is an American multinational automobile manufacturing company headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. The company is the largest automotive manufacturer in the United States and was the number one automaker in the world for 77 years. Toyota took over that title in 2008, and GM has since lost its top spot to it. What is the company's history? Read on to learn more about the company's growth and diversification, bankruptcy, and divestment of non-core units.
GM's growth after World War II
General Motors' enduring success during WWII was the result of its sacrifices. While the American public waited for its new models to hit the road, the company was also involved in war production. For example, in February 1942, Fisher Body stopped making car bodies to build Sherman tanks instead. The assembly line moved to Grand Blanc and eventually turned out 11,358 Sherman tanks. General Motors, the nation's leading automobile manufacturer, was a vital part of the war effort, and its countless sacrifices were rewarded by a successful outcome.
GM's diversification has changed how native American car companies do business. Diversification is changing what market share means and what production costs mean. It now produces cars, trucks, and automotive components in nearly every major western European, Latin American, and Mideast country. GM is even considering introducing solar-powered cars. But Wall Street is taking notice. So, what's a good diversification strategy? Let's take a look.
GM, a 101-year-old company, has filed for bankruptcy. GM manufactures Chevrolet, Cadillac, Hummer, Opel, and Vauxhall cars. This announcement follows Chrysler's bankruptcy, which put two of the top three US automobile manufacturers under court protection. The US government hopes that GM's bankruptcy process will go quickly and it will emerge from bankruptcy a smaller, more efficient company. Read on to find out what happened to GM and how you can get involved in the company's rebirth.
GM's divestment of non-core units
GM has divested non-core units to fund its pension plan. Its pension plan is underfunded by nearly $18 billion and forced the company to pay out expensive benefits to its workers. In early 2003, GM's pension fund was in a near-death state. GM redirected cash flow to its pension plan by selling its stake in Hughes Aircraft and splitting the armored vehicle business with News Corporation.
GM's impact on the environment
General Motors has been dominating the North American automobile market for decades. The automaker has also been the largest contributor to climate change, with its millions of pollution-spewing vehicles. The transportation sector accounts for 28 percent of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, and GM must redesign its supply chains, assembly lines, and labor force to minimize its carbon footprint. According to E&E News' Barry Rabe, the company must "take a leading role in reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions and improve the overall health of the people who will be driving its vehicles."
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