General Motors - The Past

GM is no longer the largest US Corporation

Market Cap has declined:

  • 1954 - 1973 GM was ranked Number 1
  • 1985 - 1999 GM was ranked Number 1
  • 2003 - GM ranked Number 61!
  • 2004 - Ranked #173

Fitch Ratings 2003:
"Over the years, GM has adopted an alliance strategy that has it involved with automotive companies such as Saab, Isuzu, Subaru, Suzuki, Fiat, and now Daewoo. The success of these ventures has been mixed but has drained considerable cash due to share acquisitions. This cash drain has been magnified by further additional investment to prop-up ailing partners."


Jim Ziegler, 2003:
"A healthy Olds assassinated to prop up a subsidized losing Saturn division that has lost nearly a billion dollars every year since its creation. Research and development for Saturn in the late 70's diverted all cash from all the other lines causing Olds, Buick, and even Pontiac and Chevy to sputter from lack of product."


Comparative Size has declined:

  • Market Value dropped from $66 Billion, May '00
    to $48.6 Billion in May 2001
  • May 2004 - down to $25 Billion
  • Well behind GE ($308 Billion)
    and Toyota ($113 Billion)


GM has sold, spun off, or closed:

  • Terex
  • Frigidaire
  • Raytheon
  • Delphi
  • Oldsmobile
  • New Departure Hyatt
  • Light Armored Vehicles
  • EDS
  • American Axle
  • Detroit Diesel
  • GMI
  • Hughes
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Buick Plant 4 - 1945

New Flint Buick Final Assembly plant being built in 1945 - it was built for a run of new Buicks in 1946.

Plant Bldg #4

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Buick Plant 4 - 2003
Buick Plant Bldg #4, Flint, Michigan, being torn down in 2003

GM Management Comments:

1998 Annual Report:

"We believe there is, among all of us at GM, a renewed sense of urgency...1999 is the year for GM to retake the lead."

1999 Annual Report:

"True, our market share in the all-important US market was flat last year. Of course, we are not pleased with that."

2000 Annual Report:

"Overall US market share fell one percentage point to 27.8 percent, while GM's global share declined half a point to 15.1 precent. Make no mistake; we do not accept GM's continued share decline..."

2001 Annual Report:

"It would be wrong to say we're satisfied. We are not. Overall we were disappointed with our 2001 results...Our margins were well below our expectations and our targets."

2002 Annual Report:

"Despite our progress, we know there's plenty more to do. Too many potential customers don't consider buying our products..."

2003 Annual Report:

"Here's what's new about GM's Strategy this year: Nothing. Our 2003 plan is the same as 2002."

2003 Letter to stockholders: "2003 was an encouraging year along that road. Not because our results fully met our expectations. They didn’t. No doubt, there are places where we have plenty of room to improve. And improve we will."

View Presentation to GM Stockholders at the 2003 Annual Meeting in Delaware

Click Image to Enlarge

Buick Powerhouse 1945


H. Ross Perot, Newsweek (12-15-91) "Gorilla dust is his expression for the perennially optimistic statements made by Smith and other company executives. Scooping up some imaginary dirt and tossing it in the air, Perot says, 'When gorillas fight, they throw dust in the air to distract one another.'"