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General Motors Firm’s Electric Vehicle Innovation


Unstoppable progress is a testament to sustained growth in potential, and General Motors, as one of the largest vehicle manufacturers worldwide, proves this. One of the problems society has been struggling with for decades is the pollution of the environment with harmful emissions. However, in early 2021, Mary Barra, General Motors’ CEO, made an important announcement. According to her, the company “is committed to reaching carbon neutrality in its global products and operations by 2040” (General Motors). The main goal is to help the planet by creating environmentally-friendly vehicles.

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In recent years, General Motors has focused more and more on green production. As its CEO states, they are working “to eliminate pollution from all new light-duty vehicles by 2035” (General Motors). Mary Barra’s efforts in this activity are significant because, as the first woman to head such a major auto concern, she has made a critical contribution to the transformation of the company’s business and the transition to new forms of production (Sethi 34). Prioritizing global interests and constantly seeking new opportunities are the properties that can help Mary Barra realize her transformational leadership skills successfully and achieve the set goals.

Reasons for Innovative Development

The transformation of General Motors into an auto concern that will focus on the transition to electric vehicles is an important step for the company and the entire planet. The move may help tackle the acute problem of air pollution from harmful emissions caused by combustion engines. This initiative can become an example for other major car manufacturers, including the other two from the Big Three – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford Motor Company.

General Motors’ activities in this area are due to a number of factors. Firstly, according to Mary Barra, renewable energy resources are essential to be used in the automotive industry (General Motors). Secondly, the company works with numerous partners and suppliers to ensure the sustainability of all operational processes at each stage (General Motors). Finally, this work is a relevant social initiative designed to bring together the efforts of various stakeholders.

As stakeholders, various participants are mentioned in the official report. As Mary Barra argues, “General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world” (General Motors). In addition, UN agencies, industry leaders, and other strong actors can be brought in to advance the initiative. The more influential participants are willing to support and disseminate information about these activities, the higher the likelihood of success globally.

At the national level, the company is promoting interaction with non-profit organizations. General Motors’s CEO mentions the cooperation “with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a shared vision of an all-electric future” (General Motors). Its president is convinced that this joint work is a valuable step towards environmental and economic progress (General Motors). Thus, a wide range of stakeholders is driven by weighty goals to be realized.

Implications of the Innovation

With the initiative to transform manufacturing and move towards the electrification of cars, General Motors can benefit financially. By following the principles of green production, the company will receive carbon credits that can be used to develop the business of the corporation (General Motors). Based on a scientific approach, General Motors is implementing its program of transition to zero-emissions technology, which will prove the relevance of the efforts of the company and its CEO. Moreover, in stages, not only American production sites will be involved but also assembly workshops in other countries, which will help popularize the idea of ​​green car manufacturing on a global scale.

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In addition to General Motors, the whole world will experience positive changes in this transformation. Moreover, the company aims to create an inclusive environment where work on producing electric cars will be accessible to different concerns (General Motors). By monitoring appropriate performance standards, governments around the world will get reports about the improved environmental situation because emissions from fuel combustion are a significant source of air pollution. Therefore, by promoting this principle of cumulative transition to innovation, General Motors is committed to the global transformation of the entire automotive industry.

As another valuable implication, one should also mention the involvement of two other major automobile concerns, which are part of the Big Three, in promoting vehicle electrification. According to Shigeta and Hosseini, the number of electric cars produced has roughly doubled compared to five years ago, and the credit goes to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford Motor Company (78). As a result, involving more participants and promoting the vehicle electrification program internationally can help, if not solve the problem of air pollution, then change the situation significantly for the better.

Mary Barra’s Role and Skills

To achieve the set goals, Mary Barra should be guided not only by the situation in the automotive market but also by personal incentives and skills. In particular, the realization of leadership qualities is an important condition for success. While reviewing her career, one can note that Mary Barra has always been known for her honesty and openness when dealing with the staff, even while working as General Motors’ head of the Product Department (Leadership Lessons Learned from Mary Barra). Transformational leadership skills, which are crucial to apply in the context of the proposed initiative, require flexibility and high adaptability since the innovation is unique in the global automotive market. Therefore, the focus on the constant search for new growth opportunities and entering new production sites is an essential leadership course to be realized by the company’s CEO.

Another crucial aspect of Mary Barra’s work is promoting long-term global interests but not short-term tasks. In this work mode, the ability to pull the team together towards a common goal is an important leadership skill, and General Motors’ CEO possesses it (Leadership Lessons Learned from Mary Barra). Thus, the ability to transform the workflow through the stimulation of teamwork and the constant search for new optimization methods are Mary Barra’s strengths.


General Motors’ commitment to completely retooling its product line and addressing the pressing issue of air pollution with harmful emissions reflects the company’s continued growth process. The appointment of Mary Barra as CEO allowed the automotive group to formulate a clear development strategy and involve a variety of stakeholders to participate in the change process. The head of the company is able to ensure that the tasks will have been achieved by the set deadline due to her essential leadership qualities. Focusing on global needs and combining team efforts to continually seek new opportunities are valuable attributes of Mary Barr’s leadership activities in transforming General Motors’ production.

Works Cited

“General Motors, the Largest U.S. Automaker, Plans to Be Carbon Neutral by 2040.” General Motors, 2021, Web.

“Leadership Lessons Learned from Mary Barra.” Professional Tales, 2020, Web.

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Sethi, Chitra. “10 Influential Women in Engineering.” Mechanical Engineering, vol. 142, no. 03, 2020, pp. 30-35.

Shigeta, Naoya, and Seyed Ehsan Hosseini. “Sustainable Development of the Automobile Industry in the United States, Europe, and Japan with Special Focus on the Vehicles’ Power Sources.” Energies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2021, p. 78.

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