Company Internationalization and European Works Councils in the Automotive Sector
Chapter 11: General Motors
247 Chapter 11: General Motors 11.1 The General Motors group (GM) 11.1.1 History and characteristics From the outset General Motors (GM), established in 1908, adopted a different strategy to that pursued by Ford. For Ford, the main concern was to pursue a high level of product standardisation, expressed in the production of the Model T, also introduced in 1908, and encapsulated in the phrase: ‘Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black’ (Ford, 1922: 57). In contrast, General Motors’ strategy, subsequently referred to as Sloanism, took a radically different direction. Alfred P. Sloan, president of General Motor from 1923 to 1937, adopted an approach based on continuous product improvement and annual model changes, combined with creating a wide range of cars tailored to different customer groups: ‘A car for every purse and purpose’ (Sloan, 1963: 438). The fundamental corporate philosophy was expressed in the structure of the company. Firstly, this entailed the integration of a large number of different marques under the General Motors umbrella; secondly, it involved the early adoption of a targeted strategy of internationalising production operations, including outside North America; and thirdly, it required the development of a matrix structure, with lines of responsibility both by brand and by region. GM was extremely successful in this strategy throughout the twentieth century. From the 1930s up until 2007, GM was largest vehicle manufacturer in the world,258 with around a dozen differ- ent marques and corresponding companies, often...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.