Rebecca Bernard
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Mary Barra Gets Candid About the Future of GM

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There’s no denying that the automotive industry is changing rapidly. From fluctuating gas prices changing the types of cars Americans are demanding, to Millennials asking for more driving and infotainment options, big automakers need to be ready for what’s ahead.

GM CEO Mary Barra sat down with The Wall Street Journal ‘s Gautham Nagesh recently to discuss with him what she sees in the future.

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When asked about Apple and Google building up their pool of engineers and looking at entering the auto market to out-maneuver her giant, 100-year-old company, Ms. Barra stressed that GM is also focused on recruiting top young talent. Around the world, about a quarter of GM’s salaried staff is brand new to the company, including new management talent.

As Ms. Barra, a GM “lifer” herself, put it, “I want diverse views, diverse backgrounds, diverse experiences. Increasingly we have that in every part of the company. People want to say, ‘Oh General Motors, 100-year-old company.’ We don’t have 100-year-old employees.”

The CEO acknowledged that there is a shift in how young people view cars, and that the industry will have to adapt to that. GM is launching car-sharing pilots in partnership with Google as one of their programs to reach out to younger drivers, especially in large cities.

Ms. Barra is also still confident in the latest generation’s commitment to cars, as seen on her visits to engineering schools around the country.

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Ms. Barra and Mr. Nagesh continued to talk about her financial strategy for GM, and how it is recovering from recent setbacks, such as the recession and recent recalls. I think it’s safe to say that Mary Barra understands the complex company she runs, and the challenges the future will throw at it.

Complete Interview: The Wall Street Journal

A Dayton native, Rebecca got her start blogging at the curiously named Harlac’s Tongue while studying abroad in the UK. She loves tooling around town with her Ford Focus named Jerome to the song they’re playing on the radio. On any given weekend, you can find her with her camera at area festivals, concerts, and car shows, shopping at flea markets, or taking an adventure on the open road. See more articles by Rebecca.