Tag Archive | "General Motors"

GM Nominates Pharmaceutical Company Exec to Join Board

General Motors Co. said Friday it is nominating the CEO of Novartis International AG, a Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company, to join the board of directors, reported The Detroit News.

The Detroit automaker also announced longtime board member E. Neville Isdell, 71, will not stand for re-election to the board in June because of the board’s retirement policy at age 72. His retirement is the second for the board this year.

Joseph Jimenez, 55, who has served as CEO of Novartis since 2010, will stand for election at GM’s annual stockholders’ meeting June 9 in Detroit. With his addition, the board will have 12 members, including 11 non-employee directors.

“Joe brings a wealth of consumer insights gained from a distinguished career in the pharmaceutical and packaged goods industries, as well as a proven focus on enhancing shareholder value over time,” GM Chairman Tim Solso said in a statement. “We look forward to leveraging his expertise in product innovation and global consumer markets.”

Jimenez joined Novartis in 2007, and previously served as non-executive director of AstraZeneca PLC, in the United Kingdom and as an adviser for the Blackstone Group, a private equity organization in the U.S. He also has held senior leadership positions at H.J. Heinz Co. and Clorox Co., where he began his career in 1984.

Isdell, former chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Co., has served on GM’s board since July 2009 when it emerged from bankruptcy and was on the board for General Motors Corp. from 2008 to 2009.

Solso and GM CEO Mary Barra thanked Isdell for his leadership and contributions to GM.

“We have made significant progress and benefited greatly from Neville’s insight and experience, especially in global brand management,” Barra said in a statement.

Last month, GM said Erroll B. Davis, a retired superintendent for Atlanta Public Schools, had notified the company he plans to retire from the board and wouldn’t seek re-election at the company’s annual meeting. Davis, 70, joined the GM board in July 2009 and previously served as a member of the General Motors Corp. board from 2007 to 2009.

In February, GM’s board added Linda Gooden, former executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Corp. Gooden, 62, started her career at the former Packard Electric Division of GM.

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Approved Death Claims Related to GM Ignition Switch Recall Rise to 90

DETROIT – The number of approved death compensation claims related to a recall of a faulty General Motors ignition switch has risen to 90, reported MLive.

The claims were approved by a fund set up by GM to compensate victims of a defective part in mid-to-late-2000s model cars that has led to a massive recall and a federal investigation.

The number of approved claims stood at 19 in mid-September and had grown steadily to 36 at the beginning of December and then to 42 in January. They hit 57 in February, reached 77 last month, and stood at 87 at the end of last week.

The victim compensation fund is being overseen by Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington, D.C. attorney who oversaw similar compensation facilities for disasters such as the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The GM ignition switch claims facility released its latest report Friday.

The deadline to file claims was Jan. 31. New claims cannot be submitted, but the facility is still accepting the electronic filing of supporting documents for existing claims.

The latest tally of claims received stands at 4,342, including 475 death claims, 289 “Category One” injury claims, or those resulting in quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage or pervasive burns, and 3,578 “Category Two” injury claims, or injuries that required a hospital visit within 48 hours of an accident.

Those numbers have remained unchanged for the past several weeks.

To date, there have been 253 claims determined eligible, a rise of nine claims over the past week. That total includes the 90 death claims, as well as 11 Category One injury claims and 152 Category Two claims.

According to the claims resolution facility’s program statistics, 1,420 claims have been deemed ineligible, an increase from 1,335 claims in last week’s report, while 1,181 claims are considered deficient, versus 1,141 in the last report. Another 997 remain under review, down from 1,085 in the previous report, and 491 claims have been submitted with no documentation.

GM has estimated that compensating all victims of the defective car part could cost the Detroit automaker anywhere from $400-600 million.

GM has recalled 2.6 million vehicles, including 2.2 million in the U.S., affected by the ignition switch. The recall includes 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2007-2010 Saturn Skys, 2005-2011 Chevrolet HHRs, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstices, and 2005-10 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 models.

The faulty ignition switches at the heart of the unprecedented recall can move out of the “run” position to the “accessory” or “off” positions, leading to a loss of power. The risk may be increased if the key ring is carrying added weight or if the vehicle goes off road or experiences some jarring event, including rough roads. If the key turns to one of those positions, officials say the front air bags may not work if there’s a crash.

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Court Rules GM is Shielded from Death Claims by Bankruptcy

DETROIT – A federal bankruptcy judge ruled Wednesday that General Motors is shielded from death and injury claims potentially totaling billions of dollars tied to defective ignition switches in certain GM small cars, reported MLive.

In 2009, a bankruptcy court allowed GM to emerge from bankruptcy protection free from the liabilities of the old company. Plaintiffs argued that GM misled the court because it knew about but failed to disclose the problem with the ignition switches. The switches are now linked to at least 84 deaths.

Judge Robert Gerber denied that argument, but did rule that under narrow circumstances, some plaintiffs who sued over a loss to the value of their cars due to faulty ignition switches can file claims against the company for actions after it left bankruptcy protection in 2009.

The ruling is a victory for GM. One plaintiffs’ attorney said the decision shields GM from $7 billion to $10 billion in potential liabilities from lawsuits.

Lawyers for plaintiffs in more than 140 lawsuits had argued that their clients never got a chance to dispute the bankruptcy order because GM concealed the defective ignition switches.

But the new GM contended that when it bought assets from the old GM in the 2009 government-funded bankruptcy, the new company got them “free and clear” of liabilities before the bankruptcy.

Texas attorney Robert Hilliard, who represents multiple wrongful death and injury plaintiffs in lawsuits against GM said the ruling cuts off court options for victims in crashes that happened before GM left bankruptcy protection in July of 2009.

“Hundreds of victims and their families will go to bed tonight forever deprived of justice,” he said. “GM, bathing in billions, may now turn its back on the dead and injured, worry free.”

GM said the judge ruled properly that claims based on the conduct of the pre-bankruptcy GM are barred, and that the judge’s order “doesn’t establish any liability against GM, and the plaintiffs must prove the merits of their claims.”

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GM to Earn $350 Million Over Three Years From 4G Technology in Cars-CFO

General Motors Co will generate $350 million in improved profit over the three years to 2018 from its rollout of 4G LTE mobile broadband in its cars and trucks, the No. 1 U.S. automaker’s chief financial officer said on Wednesday, reported Reuters.

Chuck Stevens, speaking at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference, called GM’s OnStar 4G LTE connection an “untapped, under-appreciated opportunity.”

4G LTE is a wireless connection that allows faster flow of data and developing better in-car technology is critical to automakers like GM to attract younger, tech-savvy buyers.

“Based on our plans today, which are still in the early stages of really taking advantage of this technology, we expect to see $350 million of profit improvement between now and 2018 specific to 4G LTE, and in our view, that’s just the beginning,” Stevens said.

GM has launched 4G LTE in more than 30 of its 2015-model vehicles in North America and expects all 2016 models to have that capability, Stevens said. Future plans call for its rollout in overseas markets.

Stevens also reaffirmed the company’s near-term earnings outlook, saying GM is still targeting improved operating profit and margins in all auto regions this year, as well as achieving 10 percent operating margins and a profit in Europe in 2016.

He said the Detroit company expects operating earnings at its financial arm, GM Financial, to more than double by 2018.

Asked whether the 10-percent margin target was overly conservative, Stevens said he would have a hard time saying there wasn’t an opportunity to go higher but the company wanted to reach the target first.

He said GM would reduce its U.S. hourly pension obligations over time and, in answer to a question, said that could involve a similar approach as in 2012 with its salaried employees, when it sold those obligations to a third party.

During the last round of labor talks in 2011, GM and the United Auto Workers union agreed to discuss ways the automaker could reduce the risk of its pension shortfall, viewed by credit ratings agencies as debt and a concern to GM investors.

The agreement did not detail specific steps, but analysts have said other options could include allowing UAW-represented retirees to voluntarily take lump-sum cash payments in exchange for giving up pension claims. Stevens agreed on Wednesday that that approach could be an option.

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Ford CEO: No Plans to Move Lincoln brand

NEW YORK — Ford CEO Mark Fields said the Dearborn automaker has no plans to move its Lincoln luxury brand to New York after its domestic rival made the move, reported The Detroit News.

He added that the company is committed to the revival of Lincoln.

General Motors Co. in September announced it was moving the headquarters of its luxury Cadillac brand to New York City. Cadillac will relocate June 1 to New York. GM CEO Mary Barra cited New York’s role in setting trends.

“We like Lincoln exactly where it is,” Fields told reporters Sunday night at an event here to show off the concept Lincoln Continental that will be displayed at the New York International Auto Show.

“We’re committed to Lincoln as a world-class luxury brand. That means we all have to own this, and we all do, and I think it’s very important for us. It works well when you have the marketing folks, the product planners, the engineers all working closely together because you don’t end up throwing things over a wall — you are all doing things together as a team.”

Cadillac announced its plans to establish a global brand headquarters in New York to help the 112-year-old brand re-establish itself as a dominant global luxury player in a competitive market. The idea, Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen explained in January, was to put distance between the rest of GM and Cadillac and do so in a city that is the epicenter of luxury and could help GM better understand target customers. Some Detroit community members and politicians were disappointed and criticized the move.

GM has redesigned the Cadillac business, which will operate as a separate business unit of GM. The automaker plans to invest $12 billion into Cadillac by the end of the decade, as it adds eight all-new vehicles, including SUVs. Cadillac’s U.S. sales fell 6.5 percent last year, but its global sales inched up 5 percent.

Ford moved its Lincoln brand to California in 1998 as part of its Premier Automotive Group and moved the brand back to Dearborn in 2002.

But Fields said that while California sets many trends, Fields thinks New York helps set trends in luxury vehicles and luxury items. That’s why Fields said Ford is showing off the Lincoln Continental concept at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday, with plans to build a production version next year.

Fields said the automaker is positioning Lincoln as “quiet luxury” as part of the “whole ownership experience.” It’s about an elegant experience with the highest quality technology, styling and materials.

“We want the brand to represent the themes around this quiet luxury … call it serene and relaxing but almost really to kind of chill when you get into the vehicle. Life becomes a little less stressful,” Fields said.

Fields also said Ford last year opted not to bid for the next generation presidential limousine. For much of the 20th century, the presidential limousine was a Lincoln — and often a Continental. But since the early 1980s, the limousine has been a Cadillac.

“One of the reasons Lincoln is held in high regard is they remember the presidential limousine, they remember the actors and actresses that drove them,” Fields said.

But a company only has so many resources and has to make choices, Fields said. “Let’s not dilute ourselves,” Fields said, explaining the decision.

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DRIV Technologies Responds to GM Maintenance Cutbacks

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – GM announced on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 that they would reduce their coverage for their free maintenance program on Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC vehicles for 2016 model year cars. This comes in addition to extended powertrain warranty reductions for Chevrolet and GMC.

Ryan Williams, President of DRIV technologies and Fidelis PPM, a leading provider of dealer-branded PPM programs, says “this is an excellent opportunity for Dealers to cement the value of their own dealership maintenance programs with their customers. The DRIV platform allows our dealers unlimited flexibility to make changes on the fly and control their own destiny as the OEM comes in and out of the PPM market.”

Fidelis PPM’s unique model for prepaid maintenance is built around building Dealer loyalty vs. manufacturer loyalty. While GM feels that the data from their maintenance program hasn’t netted the returns they were hoping for, Fidelis PPM has a proven track record of increasing customer retention for Dealers from a dismal industry average of 11% to an impressive 67% or more!

Scott Smith, Dealer principal of automotive associates of Atlanta, which is part of the Ken Page auto group, says “I have been using the DRIV platform to create my own PPM plan for close to five years. I am able to make any change I need to as quick as I need to and react to each OEM individually. As a result we lead each market for customer retention in for all four franchises.”

Fidelis PPM specializes in developing partnerships and integrations for their product that make it easy to sell in the finance department, service drive or preloaded on every vehicle – new or used. In fact, Fidelis PPM is approved by Ford Credit for their e-contracting platform and they also provide a turnkey wrap program for GM, Toyota, Mazda and any other manufacturer that provides a maintenance plan.

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