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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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The General Motors Company began in 1908 by William C. Durant as a holding company and today is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan as a multinational Automobile company. General Motors, or GM as most refer to it as, manufactures Cars, Trucks, and other automobiles, in over 35 countries and today owns car brands such as Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac in the United States and smaller brands such as Vauxhall, Opel, and Holden in foreign countries. GM's main competitors today include Ford and Chrysler-Fiat, who are based in the United States, as well as Toyota, who is based in Japan. Ever since General Motors went bankrupt in 2009 after the Financial Crisis, it has shown great progress and continues to outsell its main U.S. competitor Ford Motor company. Furthermore, it stays up to date in the growing world of technology with cutting edge marketing tactics and the latest in car tech like apple carplay, autonomous driving technology, and much more.

General Motors is one of the world's largest car and truck manufacturers, that designs, builds, and sells cars, trucks, crossovers, and other parts for automobiles on a global scale. GM conducts business in over 35 countries and sells its wide range of automobiles under its multiple brands, including Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, and many more. General Motors does not just provide automobiles, but provides other automotive services through its subsidiaries. The OnStar corporation, one of GM's subsidiaries, is a company that primarily focuses on providing information technology services to General Motor vehicles, such as subscription-based communications, in-vehicle security, emergency services, hands-free calling, turn-by-turn navigation, and remote diagnostics systems. The company also provides financial services through General Motors Financial Company. The main focus of this subsidiary company is to provide automotive financial services, such as leases, loans, and car insurance through GM dealerships. GM Financial also provides non-automotive financial services, such as loans for real estate. The idea behind having such subsidiaries as OnStar and GM Financial is to offer these services to their wide range of different automotive brands. One who has taken a loan with GM financial and switches between a GMC and a Buick can do so with great ease as both brands are represented by their parent company GM and its financial branch, GM Financial.

In regards to the automotive industry, GM is one of the leading automotive manufacturers in the world. For American automakers, GM is included within the top three alongside Ford and Chrysler-Fiat. In October 2017, they lead the car and light truck market in the United States with 18.6 percent of the market share, while competitors Ford and Toyota held 14.7 percent and 13.9 percent respectively. While gross profit is not as impressive as Toyota Motor Corp, its growth in sales is what is impressive. While Toyota's profits dropped by $1.3 million in the last 2 years, GM sales have increased by over $7.4 million. However, it wasn't always doing so well, following the 2008 Market Crash GM was surpassed my Toyota as the largest automaker in the world, a title General Motors had held since the 1930's. With the market crash, high oil prices and a declining U.S. economy, GM and its “big three” competitors had to rethink their production by cutting on trucks and big suvs. And in turn produce fuel efficient cars to cope with the high gas prices. Although this idea of producing more fuel efficient cars over gas guzzling SUVs and trucks was smart, it couldn't save GM, and they unfortunately filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008.

Today, General Motors is facing new challenges despite posting promising sales.

These problems are forecasted to affect GM in the future as American made automobile sales are shrinking and President Trump tries to change the North American Free Trade Agreement. To start, GM's largest profit area is the United States where 61.7% of all its revenue is generated from. Because a majority of its revenue comes from a single source, any change to that specific market over the next few years could threaten the company. Some might ask why would NAFTA affect the U.S. based General Motors Corporation. 20% of GM's North American production comes from Mexico alone and in particular 42% of GM's trucks, come from Mexico, this includes the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado, both high revenue producing vehicles for GM. Adding in that President Trump is proposing a 20-35% import tax, GM's profits would be cut substantially.

The proposed import tax could be damaging to General Motors, with the result being layoffs and downsizing of the company.

Technology wise, General Motors has been staying on top of trends, such as its use of  social media. GM was the first company to use Facebook Live as an advertisement platform by making a live video about their new electric car. Not only did the video showcase the car, but it also gave a full interior view of it as well. GM is aware that not nearly as many customers will be watching a live video as opposed to an advertisement online, but those that do watch the video will be the ones that are most interested in their products and are the ones that are going to be buying. This video also showcases new features that GM has just recently added to their vehicles. Overall, GM has made great use of Facebook to show off its latest achievements to its more loyal customers and potential customers.

GM has developed a brand new feature in their vehicles that allows drivers and other passengers to shop and order things through their car's navigation display. This feature allows people to order coffee and food, find hotels/motels, find the cheapest gas closest to you, and much more. It also gives those who use this new touch screen feature discounts and coupons for other various products that GM offers, whether it be for maintenance or special promotions. This feature is made possible through GM's technology subsidiary, OnStar, with a subscription allowing drivers to wirelessly connect to the internet.

Ethics are a crucial part of any business, no matter what kind of business it conducts. If a business does not have a good ethics policy, then it is prone to corruption and bad choices. The code of conduct for GM is winning with integrity, demonstrating its competitive spirit but not letting it ruin the integrity of its products and services. One of its most important policies is safety for everyone and everything. For any business, especially a large automotive company as GM, safety should be one of its highlighted points. Not just safety in the design of their vehicles, but in the overall safety of their employees, customers, visitors, and all other third parties. Besides safety and winning with integrity, the three core values of General Motors are customers, relationships, and excellence. Their focus is on building good customer relationships while providing a safe and high quality product for them. Their plan is to find and keep customers for life. General Motors has been socially responsible as well. GM has donated hundreds of millions of dollars since it started in 1976 through its own organization, The General Motors foundation, to improve education, assist disaster relief efforts worldwide, and contribute environmental and community development. Unfortunately, GM has redirected it's 30 million dollar a year donations elsewhere starting in mid 2017. This is not a need for concern though, as GM is focusing its efforts on high-tech education, safety, and stimulating the economy. GM is using its efforts to focus on vehicle safety and reducing the number of injuries and accidents, advancing the education of science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as increasing high school graduation rates in highly populated cities. This philanthropic shift is hoping to align more closely with GM's overall corporate mission.

Like most companies, GM offers a long list of employee benefits to reward their employees for their hard work and innovation. As most big corporations, they have health care plans and 401(K) plans. They also offer 3-6 weeks of vacation time and have 16 paid holidays off, which is more than most companies tend to give. They also offer life insurance plans and disability benefits. To help their younger employees, they also offer to help pay college tuition and offer employees and their families discounts on all GM vehicles.

Just like all companies GM has performed a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a vital strategy applied in an effort to realize strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats of either an organization or individual. In the business context, this strategy enables a business to discover its strong and weak points, thus enabling it to survive both the internal and external forces. Strength is considered as a positive internal characteristic of an organization, whether intangible or tangible. It is an attribute that is within the control of the business organization. General Motors strengths include joint Ventures with local Chinese automotive companies, strong position in the U.S. automotive market, strong brand portfolio, sustainability and environmental policies, safe and eco friendly cars, OnStar all-in-one assistance, and rare product recalls. These strengths give General Motors an advantage when it comes to the competition. Weaknesses are a firm's internal attributes which are negative in nature and are responsible for denying an enterprise a competitive advantage over the other firms. General motors indeed does have weaknesses and they include the dependence on U.S. to generate most of the revenue, their brand awareness, and reliance on pickup trucks and SUVs for sales growth. Opportunities are external and attractive elements which give hints on expected prosperity of a business enterprise. General Motors has opportunities and they include that fact that low fuel prices are increasing the demand for pickup trucks and SUVs, the timing and frequency of the new model releases, and the demand for autonomous vehicles. Finally, threats. Threats are external factors that an enterprise has no control over, which have the negative ability of putting the business or its strategic plans at risk of failure. The only benefit that threats offer businesses is the fact that success can be realized by responding to threats with effective problem-solving and planning. Threats are seen as the strong competitors in the market and are factors that reduce the profits of a business. General Motors of course also has major threats to it business as their are a plethora of other car companies in the world constantly trying to get a leg up on GM. Their threats include Increased competition, the rising U.S. dollar exchange rate, increasing government regulations may raise the costs, and the fact that U.S. automotive market is poised to slow down or even decline.

Any company or business today has a marketing strategy and General Motors is no less. GM airs several commercials about how the people in the commercial are real people and not actors, particularly for their Chevrolet vehicles. They show the consumers cars, suvs, or trucks and surprise them with how much better GM vehicles compare to the competitors. They detail how their cars are better in value, have more technology, and look like a more premium brand car. Since General Motors has several brands, it offers itself to a large audience. Chevrolet is the brand primarily for customers looking for the best value car, SUV, or truck to get from A to B. Then, you can go all the way to the other end of the spectrum, Cadillac, which offers luxurious and performance sedans and SUVs to rival that of Ford's premium brand Lincoln, or the German rivals BMW and Mercedes Benz. Due to its multiple brands that each have their own focus, GM can cater to anyone and everyone.

Although GM's sales are up for the quarter, they more so than rival that of Ford. The best way to really see how GM is doing is by their financial ratios or financial statements. Since the year of 2017 is not over yet and in order to be exact, 2016 is the latest year being used for GM's financials. General Motors Revenues, the income generated from the sale of goods and services in 2016 were 166.3 billion, up from 152.3 the previous year and 155.9 in 2014. This is on par with the fact that GM's sales were up for 2016. Furthermore the Net Income, the income generated from production after all expenses including taxes have been paid is up. The income is strong for 2016 at 9.4 billion but thats down from 2015 at 9.6 but up alot from 2014 at 3.9. The reason GM increases its net income so much from 2014 to 2015 and then decreases a little in 2016 can be translated into several reasons. One main reason being investments for the future. In fact, I would expect their net income for 2017 to decrease substantially with GM's push towards new technology and autonomous driving technology as mentioned previously. As the saying goes “you have to spend money to make money,” and that's exactly what GM has done in 2014 and today in 2017. One last Financial ratio worth noting is liquidity or asset turnover, which is how quickly a company can turn assets into cash. The asset turnover from 2016 remains strong at 800 million and in 2014 at 910 million. This is about 200 million more liquid than Ford Motor Group whose asset turnover was only 660 million for 2016 and 700 million for 2014. These ratios represent a superior edge over its competitors as well as increased profitability for potential and current investors in General Motors for future gains to come.

One of the world's leading car and truck manufacturers in the world, General Motors has business in over 35 countries and an impressive lineup of different brands with different focuses. Because of its safe and reliable brands and its strong history in the United States, General Motors has maintained itself as the leading American-made automotive manufacturer. It has continued to grow in the U.S. and expand internationally and in China where it has found a jointly ventured market niche. As well as reaching new customers through its marketing strategies that once before would not have considered GM or its subsidiaries. All while constantly facing competition, regulations, and the ever changing economy. Through this they must adapt, stay relevant and invest heavily on the future of the car world with new technology. The General Motor Company has been a huge part of the automotive industry for almost 100 years and will continue to be a major competitor in both the American market and the Global market, providing integrity and excellent products.

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