General Motors had reason to celebrate after revenues of US$135.6 billion were generated in 2010. Total sales for GM’s four brands – Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac – increased 21% to 2,202,927, while retail sales rose 16% for 2010.
Sales of the four brands were 118,435 more vehicles in 2010 than the company did with eight brands in 2009, while still gaining total and retail market share for the year. “Last year was one of foundation building. Particularly pleasing was that we demonstrated GM’s ability to achieve sustainable profitability near the bottom of the US industry cycle, with four consecutive profitable quarters,” said Dan Akerson, chairman and chief executive officer of General Motors.
In recognizing the significant contributions of suppliers in the success of 2010, GM held the 19th annual Supplier of the Year awards for global product and performance achievements. The Supplier of the Year award program began in 1992. A global team of purchasing, engineering, quality, manufacturing and logistics executives determines the winners representing the best in innovative technology, superior quality, outstanding launch support and competitive total enterprise cost solutions.
“We believe the Supplier of the Year Award is a top honor in the industry. These suppliers are a critical part of our effort to design, build and sell the world’s best vehicles,” said Bob Socia, vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain at GM.
Germany’s Mann + Hummel, a supplier of intake manifolds, has been honored as a Supplier of the Year winner each of the 18 years the awards have been presented, while 61 2010 winning suppliers have been recognized at least once. Fifteen companies won the award for the first time. “The Supplier of the Year award is always special, but those suppliers recognized this year have risen above and beyond the call during one of the most challenging years in GM history. This is truly a world-class list of suppliers,” said Socia. This year’s Corporation of the Year winner was LG Chem, supplier of the battery cells in the Chevrolet Volt electric car with extended-range capability.
One of the winners of the 2010 Supplier of the Year award was Johnson Controls Power Solutions. The company is a global leader in lead-acid starter batteries, advanced lead-acid batteries for Start-Stop vehicles and Lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. This is the third consecutive Supplier of the Year award Johnson Controls Power Solutions has received from General Motors. “We are pleased to receive this award from General Motors, which acknowledges our continued focus on exceeding our customers’ quality and performance standards. We look forward to continuing to work with GM as the automotive battery takes on an increasingly important role in the vehicle,” said Alex Molinaroli, president of Johnson
Controls Power Solutions.
In 1968, GM was the one of the first automotive OEMs to establish a formal supplier diversity program. Its mission is to develop a competitive, diverse supply base that works with the company to design, build and sell what the company hopes will be the world’s best vehicles. GM has been proactive in encouraging suppliers across the world. For example, the Korea Autoparts Plaza was recently held in Thailand where 33 South Korean auto parts manufacturers, some Japanese automakers along with 150 officials of GM’s Thailand unit took part. The two-day event was sponsored by GM’s Thailand unit. According to reports GM has purchased US$6 billion worth of parts from South Korean suppliers in the past five years. GM has held similar auto parts trade events for Korean auto parts manufacturers in Uzbekistan as well as Russia.
Peter Cohan of DailyFinance said in a November report titled “Smart Suppliers are Hitching a Ride on GM’s Bandwagon” that after GM’s initial public offering and subsequent profitability, GM’s suppliers have enjoyed an upswing in their growth prospects. He quotes the examples of Dupont when GM won a Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Innovation award for the engine cover on its 2010 Cadillac CTS sedan, using DuPont’s Zytel Plus resin. According to Cohan, GM is working with DuPont and other suppliers on more programs that will replace metal parts with plastic to lighten its vehicles and improve fuel efficiency.
100 years of Chevrolet
Chevrolet was founded in Detroit, in November 1911, by Swiss-born racer Louis Chevrolet and General Motors founder William C. “Billy” Durant.
The first Chevrolet – the Series C Classic Six – offered an electric starter and electric headlamps at a time when both were rarities among even luxury cars. As one of the largest-selling brands in the industry, Chevrolet’s early adoption of landmark technologies fundamentally changed the way they were applied to new vehicles.
Chevrolet also made performance affordable, with the 1955 introduction of Chevrolet’s small-block V-8 that began a new era in attainable high-performance.
Durant bought out Chevrolet’s interest in the company in 1915, and a year later a controlling interest in General Motors. By 1917, Durant was back at the helm of GM and Chevrolet was a division of it. Durant left General Motors in 1920. He established another car company and became a prominent Wall Street investor. The stock market crash of 1929 bankrupted him. He died in 1947, and was buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.
Louis Chevrolet also lost his fortune during the Great Depression. He returned to his vocational skills and worked as a mechanic at a Chevrolet factory in Detroit. He died in 1941, and was buried in Indianapolis, near the famous speedway where he forged his reputation as a fearless racer and innovator.
1911 – Chevrolet is founded and the Series C Classic Six is unveiled, priced at $2,150.
1914 – Chevrolet’s iconic “bowtie” logo is used for the first time. The Model H launches with a four-cylinder engine that helps build Chevrolet’s reputation as a dependable car. The engine would power Chevrolets through to 1928.
1915 – The Model 490 is introduced. It was named for its $490 price, which was $5 less than the Model T.
1917 – Chevrolet becomes a division of General Motors.
1918 – Chevrolet’s first trucks are introduced.
1929 – A new overhead-valve six-cylinder is introduced and marketed as “the six for the price of a four.”
1934 – Chevrolet introduces independent front suspension.
1935 – The Suburban is introduced, offering three rows of seats and generous cargo space. It marks its 76th anniversary in 2011, and is the oldest continually produced vehicle in automotive history.
1942 – Chevrolet stops building civilian vehicles and dedicates its production facilities to manufacturing armaments for World War II.
1953 – The Corvette is introduced. Only 300 of the fiberglass-bodied sports cars are produced that first year.
1955 – The small-block V-8 is introduced in the redesigned 1955 Chevrolet line, establishing a legacy that continues in the “LS” family of small-block V-8s found in Chevrolet trucks, SUVs and performance cars.
1956 – The “Dinah Shore Chevy Show” launches as a one-hour TV show, with Shore singing “See the USA in your Chevrolet” at the close of each show. She was the first woman to host her own TV show.
1957 – Fuel injection is offered for the first time.
1960 – Junior Johnson wins the Daytona 500 in a Chevy, the first of 21 Chevrolet victories at NASCAR’s premier race (through 2010) – the most of any manufacturer.
1962 – The Beach Boys record “409” – an ode to Chevrolets powered by the 409 engine.
1967 – The Camaro is introduced, offering a wide range of personalization options, as well as high-performance engines.
1970 – Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins won the very first NHRA Pro Stock race at the Winternationals, driving a Camaro.
1975 – The tagline “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet” is introduced.
1986 – Corvette is the first Chevrolet with anti-lock brakes.
1990 – The Corvette ZR-1 smashes a trio of speed-endurance records.
1991 – The “Like A Rock” advertising campaign is launched for Chevrolet trucks, with Bob Seger’s song of the same name serving as its foundation.
1994 – Jeff Gordon wins the inaugural Brickyard 400 NASCAR race at Indianapolis, driving a Monte Carlo race car.
1997 – The Gen III small-block V-8 – dubbed the “LS” family of engines by enthusiasts – debuts in the redesigned Corvette.
2007 – “Transformers” is a blockbuster movie and introduces Bumblebee, a character that transforms into a yellow Camaro.
2011 – The Volt is launched, ushering in a new age of electrically driven automobiles