CHICAGO General Motors
Co. has made a commitment to innovation that will "move us to
the forefront of safety, connectivity and clean technology,"
the companys top executive told shareholders.
"One look under the hood of the
new Corvette will tell you its not old-fashioned Detroit
iron," chairman and chief executive officer Dan Akerson said at
the companys annual meeting. "The Stingray uses advanced
lightweight materials like carbon fiber, sophisticated engine
management technologies and incredible attention to detail to
automakers research and development team has "recaptured
their entrepreneurial spirit," he said. "We have brilliant
scientists working for us. GM was ranked No. 1 in the Patent
Boards list of innovators in the automotive and
transportation industry for seven consecutive quarters."
Commercializing the research has
posed a challenge, but "that has changed faster than I imagined
possible," Akerson said.
GM has adopted new strategies to
drive its investments in start-up and early stage companies.
"We are already building vehicles using new GM-invented and
patent-protected aluminum spot-welding technology," Akerson
said, by way of an example. "This innovation saves weight, cuts
material costs and reduces capital investment by eliminating
the need to use rivets when building aluminum hoods and
The products GM launched last
year were "just a tip of the spear," he said. "As I speak, the
first all-new full-size pickup trucks (by) GM in six years are
arriving in dealer showrooms across North America. Not only are
the new Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra more capable and
luxury-car quiet, our new V8 engines offer superior towing and
fuel economy. The all-new Cadillac CTS is some 200 pounds
lighter than a comparable BMW 5-Series."
Akerson said the biggest
challenges are material costs, complexity and quality.
"Theyre all interconnected, they are all in our ability
to control, and this leadership team will stay resolute in our
determination to address and fix them."