DETROIT –President and Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann says Job One in his new position managing the automaker’s regional operations around the world will be continued integration of those units into a single organization.
“We have a very big opportunity to better integrate all of our global operations (and) run those like one big integrated organization,” he tells WardsAuto after introducing the ’15 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and Corvette C7.R race car at the North American International Auto Show today.
“We’ve made some very good progress in that direction in the last few years, and we have an opportunity now to really accelerate that when we’re thinking about where we are placing our bets and allocating resources,” he says.
Ammann last month took on duties as GM president in an executive shuffle that will see current Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson retire on Jan. 15 and Mary Barra shift from head of global product development to CEO. Mark Reuss moves into Barra’s position from president of GM North America, which will be run by Chevrolet global sales chief Alan Batey.
Ammann will give up his role as CFO next month. A replacement has not been named.
As GM president, he wants to duplicate the consolidation and best-practices sharing recently witnessed by the global product-development group in other areas of the company.
Ammann cites the regional manufacturing units as one area ripe for integration, where a common approach would lead to significant cost savings through objectives such as standardized tooling, greater production flexibility and higher quality. Training costs also would likely decline. Additionally, he wants to further “simplify” GM’s product portfolio by consolidating vehicle architectures.
“It’s a big opportunity,” he says.
Ammann stops short of giving journalists a forecast for U.S. sales in 2014, which WardsAuto has pegged at 16.3 million units.
“We see continued modest growth,” he says. “We don’t see enormous growth.”
GM sales last year grew 7.3% to 2.8 million units from 2.6 million in 2012, according to WardsAuto data. Light-vehicle deliveries industrywide increased 7.5% to 15.5 million from 14.4 million in 2012.
Ammann says GM thinks the European market has hit bottom, although he suggests the region will not reach the 15.96 million annual sales it booked in 2007 anytime soon. Most automakers in Europe expect single-digit growth.
“It’s at the bottom,” he says of the market, which in November saw deliveries rise for a third straight month, lifting hopes it will avert a sixth consecutive year of declining sales. “We’ll see how quickly it comes off the bottom. It’s been a tough time for a number of years over there, so we think we’ve hit bottom and it’s matter of when and how quickly we come off it.”