GM Focuses on the Next 100 Years
Even as it marks 100 years of iconic automotive manufacturing history, General Motors is focused on the next century, embracing a future of great change and dramatic challenges. “There are many roads to the future,” the theme of GMnext, the automaker’s global interactive program, describes GM’s roadmap in meeting tomorrow’s challenges. The “roads” include vehicle design, new technologies, ideas that will shape personal transportation, global reach, and environmental initiatives.
As GM’s 100th anniversary date — September 16 — drew near, Automotive Fleet sat down with company executives to explore the role fleet will play in the automaker’s future.
General Manager, Fleet & Commercial Operations
AF: How will the fleet market of the future differ from today? What emerging fleet issues will GM and fleet management face?
McVeigh: This industry has never been more dynamic, but one thing that won’t be different in the future of the fleet market is that our clients will still need vehicles that provide the quality, utility, and value GM vehicles provide.
An emerging hot topic is the “greening” of fleets. Fleet clients want vehicles that make a difference in their environmental footprint and demonstrate they are green, while also saving money in managing their fleets. GM’s vision moving forward is to significantly increase fuel economy, minimize vehicle emissions, and displace petroleum by embracing energy diversity. The company is focused on improving its conventional powertrains and biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel; bringing more hybrids to market; and introducing battery-electric and plug-in technology to the consumer.
We’re also developing hydrogen fuel cell-electric propulsion systems. So, as GM begins its next 100 years, we are positioned to change transportation’s role in the energy equation. And that’s important for the fleet market now and in the future.
AF: How will GM Fleet & Commercial Operations evolve to meet future needs of fleet customers?
McVeigh: Meeting the current and future needs of our fleet clients is all about product, people, pricing, and promotion. First, we must continue to launch outstanding products that are priced right and meet and exceed customer needs and expectations. Our business is a relationship business, so our people play a key role in supporting our clients and promoting what we offer to meet their fleet needs. It’s key that we have processes in place that make it easy for them to do business with us. All in all, we want to be the go-to manufacturer to meet the needs of our clients and fleet prospects.
AF: What technological changes may be implemented in GM’s future new-model ordering system?
McVeigh: Our goal is to be a one-stop shop in serving customers with orders, pricing, rebilling, logistics, communication, and IT. Recently, our Order Workbench was upgraded to accept orders configured in Autobook, and now we’re in the process of upgrading Order Workbench with a new and more precise vehicle configurator slated to be launched next year. We’ll also be improving the Business Central Web site in the near future. Again, we want to make it easy for our customers and dealers to do business with us, and part of that is having the right systems in place to make that goal a reality.
In addition, fleets clearly want even more from the largest and most reliable telematics brand. Today, OnStar by GM provides fleets the most comprehensive solutions for safety and security. Other OnStar fleet-popular features include remote door unlock, turn-by-turn navigation, and accident crash notification. OnStar Business Vehicle Manager provides such fleet-critical data as accurate odometer readings, open campaign recalls, and oil-life remaining. GM will continue to evaluate the best way to meet increasing fleet demands for commercial telematics.