Mary Barra, who made history by becoming the first female to head any of the world’s top eight automobile companies, made her first visit to India this month as the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors.
Barra was joined by Tim Solso, non-executive Chairman of the GM Board of Directors; Stefan Jacoby, Executive Vice President and President, GM International and Arvind Saxena, GM India President and Managing Director.
During her visit, Barra held discussions with the company’s leading suppliers and encouraged them to remain focused on driving excellence across their operations. She added that GM will continue to leverage its domestic suppliers as it increases the localization of its products manufactured in India. She also thanked them for their support, and reiterated that they are important members of the GM family.
Barra also visited GM India’s manufacturing unit at Talegaon in Pune where she spoke with employees and congratulated them on their recent achievements. She also spoke with business leaders and met with political leadership too. She said that India represents a great opportunity for GM and that the company cannot remain a global leader without expanding its presence in a market that is expected to become one of the world’s three largest markets by 2020.
Barra also rolled out Chevrolet’s first car which will be exported out of India from its plant in Pune. The vehicle is Left Hand Drive (LHD) Beat and it is earmarked for Chile which will become the first country to get vehicles from India. Later on, there are more countries which will be added to the list.
Not many in India are aware that GM is going through a hard time due to a massive recall issue that could end up costing GM $400-$600 million! The company is in a soup due to the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt cars’ faulty ignition switches claiming as many as 13 lives in 31 road accidents.
Now, she became the CEO of GM in 2014 and came to know about the ignition recall just two weeks into her new job. It was an early (and unfair) test of her abilities as a CEO of a company that has seen five CEOs already in the last six years. Despite all odds, the way she has been steering the company since January and, even more importantly, the manner in which she has conducted her own self is what seems more promising. We just hope the reigns of Chevrolet and General Motors as a whole are finally in the right hands now!