By on October 15, 2012

Reports out of the Ren Cen state that departed Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick’s position won’t be filled. Instead, CEO Dan Akerson will delegate those responsibilities to the global heads of Chevrolet and Cadillac.

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By on August 8, 2012

The latest chapter of the Joel Ewanick saga is unfolding courtesy of Bloomberg. Our long-suffering marketing chief appears to have been sacked in part because he committed the heinous crime of buying cheap furniture.

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By on August 6, 2012

An Automotive News article on the second anniversary of GM CEO Dan Akerson’s tenure sheds some light on the genesis of the Chevrolet Malibu Eco, and the puzzling decision to stagger the launch of the new mid-size sedan.

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By on June 29, 2012

GM’s Dan Akerson spoke to the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board on Thursday, and discussed both compressed natural gas capabilities, and the need to streamline powertrains in the post-bankruptcy era.

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By on June 13, 2012

Calling Canada “the most expensive place in the world to build a car right now“, Dan Akerson threw his hat into the “hourly wage costs need to come down” ring at GM’s annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday.

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By on August 1, 2011

In an extended interview with Fareed Zakaria this weekend, GM CEO Dan Akerson repudiated a lot of GM’s previous optimism about hydrogen fuel cell cars, saying

We’re looking at hydrogen fuel cells, which have no carbon emissions, zero. They’re very expensive now, but we’ve, just in the last two years, reduced the price of that technology by $100,000. The car is still too expensive and probably won’t be practical until the 2020-plus period, I don’t know. And then there’s the issue of infrastructure

The DetN points out that GM had previously said that it would have anywhere from 1,000 to “hundreds of thousands” of fuel cell cars on the road by 2010, and most recently said (in 2009) that the technology would be “commercialized” by 2015 and “cost-competitive” by 2020. So, if hydrogen is moving to the back burner, what’s moving up? Akerson revealed that

soon we’ll be introducing “bi-fuel” engines which can burn both compressed natural gas and liquid gasoline.

We’ve seen GM take early steps towards bringing a natural gas-powered car to the road, but this is the first sign from a top executive that a dual-fuel car is a certainty in GM’s near future. By talking down hugely expensive hydrogen cars and talking up cheap natural gas powerplants, Akerson sends a strong message that GM’s green car efforts are moving in a more pragmatic direction. Hit the jump for part two of the interview, in which Akerson talks gas tax and green cars.
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By on June 6, 2011

The Detroit News snagged a lengthy interview with GM CEO Dan Akerson, giving observers one of the first in-depth looks at the man who will be leading The General for the next three to four years. The interview is to lengthy to summarize here, but there are a few items that are worth noting…

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By on April 19, 2011

Speaking at the New York Auto Show today, GM CEO Dan Akerson defended his inconsistent approach to sales incentives, telling the AP [via The Washington Examiner]

I feel pretty good about that. I think we’re in pretty good shape. I don’t want to be a predictable competitor. I don’t want the other guy to know exactly what I’m doing.

For some context,

GM surprised the industry — and Wall Street — when it raised discounts by $400 per vehicle in January and February. Most automakers didn’t raise them because demand for new vehicles has been rising in line with supply…

GM pulled back on its incentives in March, spending $600 to $800 per vehicle less on the deals. But it was too late for some investors, who shied away from the company’s stock because higher rebates lower car companies’ profits.

But does Akerson’s upside, the element of surprise, outweigh the downsides of his hot-cold incentive strategy?

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By on September 3, 2010

Editor’s note: GM CEO Dan Akerson sent the following email to GM’s employees, his first such communication as GM’s CEO, in recognition of Labor Day Weekend Eve.

GM Employees,

As Labor Day approaches in the U.S. and Canada, I would like to wish everyone at General Motors a safe, happy holiday weekend. I also ask that we pause for moment to reflect on what this day means as we celebrate labor’s many contributions here and around the world.

Of course, labor’s role in building up this nation and others is well recognized and rightly so. And, coming from a union family, I know on a very personal level the good things that unions can do.

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By on August 16, 2010

Reuters [via ABC] reports that GM has completed its S1 filing and will file Monday, after a Friday the 13th filing was delayed in order to

add a management risk factor after Chief Executive Ed Whitacre announced on Thursday he would step down and be succeeded by Dan Akerson effective September.

And that won’t be the only “risk factor” warning to investors in GM’s S-1. Bloomberg found a number of analysts ready to support the headline

GM’s Akerson to Struggle in Proving to IPO Investors Europe Fixable

Any bets on the number of times the word “Opel” appears in tomorrow’s filing?

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By on August 13, 2010


From the moment GM’s Chairman Ed Whitacre took over for Fritz Henderson as CEO, many wondered how long the 68-year-old Texan would stick around. Apparently GM’s board was not immune from such uncertainty either, as Bloomberg reports that it gave Whitacre an ultimatum: commit to the long haul or get out now. According to reports, several Wall Street banks asked Whitacre whether he would be leading GM long-term during pre-IPO meetings. Whitacre didn’t answer at the time, but the pressure from Wall Street clearly pressed the board’s hand. Since Whitacre ultimately didn’t want to stick around for an extended term (posibly due to the Treasury’s unwillingness to dump all of its stock during GM’s IPO), the board picked Dan Akerson to take over. But how will an unexpected handoff to an unknown executive with no industry experience affect GM’s IPO?
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By on August 12, 2010

One might imagine that GM wouldn’t want to scare anyone away from its forthcoming IPO, but triskadecaphobes might just want to sit this one out. With a $5b credit line reportedly secured from a group of “at least 15” banks, Reuters [via Automotive News [sub]] reports that GM could file its S1 with the SEC as soon as tomorrow. In case that date is too pregnant with superstition, GM could wait until next Monday to file paperwork. Either way, GM is expected to go public by the Thanksgiving holiday.
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