GM’s Barra says automaker ready to also disrupt industry

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Technology companies interested in having a piece of the profitable automotive industry as seen as “leaders and disruptors” but it appears an old player aims to secure that position ahead of the competition. Mary Barra, the first female chief executive officer at a major global automaker, has had a rough patch during her first year of tenure – take on the demons of the past and handle a major crisis – the ignition switch debacle. Now in her second year of office she is looking towards the future. GM last month settled with the federal government the company’s deadly ignition-switch defect and thus mostly closed off a disappointing chapter in the automaker’s recent past. Now Barr has moved to equally pressing matters, discussing the topics that are significantly more important today – autonomous cars, ride sharing and in-car connectivity. GM is now trialing ride-sharing programs and playing with a fleet of driverless Chevrolet Volts, among many other innovation plans. “We’re not sitting there saying, ‘Oh, what are we going to do?'” Barra commented on her recent trips to Silicon Valley or meetings with venture capital firms or eve discussions with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. GM’s Barra says the company’s partnerships have to do with synergies and beneficial business cases for both parties – examples being the newly announced long-term relationship with LG, the successful partnership with Honda on fuel cells that is being expanded now or the dealings with SAIC in China over the past 15 years. GM has been looking to deploy its assets in connectivity and all of the emerging fields while retreating from a number of global markets – such as Chevy in Europe, Australia, Russia, Indonesia or Thailand. Via Automotive News