Chicago Auto Show Blog

General Motors VP of Global Engineering Addresses MAMA Members

Posted by: Julie Piatek

General Motors’ Vice President of Global Engineering, John Calabrese, was the guest speaker during this month’s Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) meeting and members benefited from learning a few of GM’s strategies for building a global vehicle portfolio.

Everything begins and ends with great products.

Calabrese made clear that GM’s No. 1 goal is to deliver on quality products and discussed how the company’s brightest moments are yet to come. General Motors recognizes a huge opportunity in creating the future and puts a strong emphasis on producing the world’s best components, subsystems and integration to create the best vehicle segments.

The Customer is the Compass

Calabrese expanded on the company motto “The Customer is the Compass” by explaining GM measures success based on the customer experience. “We win when the customers tell us that we won,” Calabrese specifically stated. Another main focus for GM is to obtain repeat business, which is the outcome of customer satisfaction. Responsiveness is also critical, and GM values its great communication system that’s implemented throughout the entire company – from corporate executives down to the dealer level.

GM’s Commitment to Innovation

Calabrese believes GM’s commitment to innovation is what sets the company apart from the rest of the competition. Innovation drives the business and General Motors’ job is to sense and create the future by predicting potential problems and correcting them before they even arise. GM proudly touts the following 2012 Intellectual Property Achievement Awards: 

* 433 unique patents granted to 428 employees

* 69 tool method secret inventions to 127 employees

* 104 publications to 188 employees

Calabrese also noted that welding will be a competitive advantage for the company moving forward. The future makeup of GM’s vehicles will be smaller on the outside with a larger interior and, overall, lighter in weight.

Education Outreach Programs

Additionally, GM strives to be a thought leader in the innovation category via education outreach programs. Calabrese is an advocate for GM’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education outreach program, and believes that it’s critical to build on the students’ foundation of education to ignite interest in the brand. Almost 80 percent of future jobs will incorporate some component of the STEM education program. Being an advocate for future engineers is not only important to GM, but also to the automotive industry and the entire global business platform. 

Following the presentation, test drives of the newest GM North American launch vehicles, that exemplified core engineering, were available to MAMA members. The vehicle lineup included the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV and 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel, among others.

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