Five hundred million! Now this is a number you can surely be
proud of! US based General Motors has announced the celebration of 500 million
GM-branded vehicles built globally over the past 106 years – the most by any
automaker. According to a company press release, for customers, these vehicles
played roles in weddings, family vacations, graduations, new businesses and
countless milestones along life’s journey.
GM has also had a momentous journey in India with its cars being bought
by erstwhile maharajas and also featuring in several Hindi Bollywood movies.
“This celebration isn’t about GM’s manufacturing prowess. It
is really about our customers and the positive experiences they’ve had with
Chevrolet and other GM-branded vehicles around the world,” said Stefan Jacoby,
GM Executive Vice President and President of GM International.
“While we are proud to have built 500 million vehicles, we
know we will only earn the right to build 500 million more by putting our
customers at the centre of everything we do,” he added.
At a U.S. event celebrating the milestone, GM CEO Mary Barra
spoke of how the company’s vehicles have played vital roles in the lives of its
customers – from daily commutes to family vacations, and in milestones such as
weddings and graduations – and how GM looks to build on the achievement.
“During 2015, we expect to sell more than 1,000 new vehicles
per hour, 24 hours per day,” said Barra. “This adds up to nearly 10 million
vehicles, the most in our history. I look at this extraordinary volume as 10
million opportunities to prove what kind of company we are and to say thank
Select customer milestones around the world were shared by
Mary Barra in the U.S. on the momentous occasion. Some of them were:
• A recent retiree in Minnesota still driving his 1957
Chevrolet pickup truck – acquired from a farmer 38 years ago for $75.
• An Opel owner from Germany whose car travelled extensively
with her and her husband – including to Hawaii.
• A Brazilian woman born in the passenger seat of a
Chevrolet Chevette; she continues to be a loyal customer today
• A Chevrolet Captiva club member in Thailand who used a
fleet of Captivas to propose to his now-wife
• A young man in China so inspired by his first vehicle – a
Chevrolet Cruze – that he customised it to match his personality, then quit his
job and started a retrofitting business to help other customers personalise
GM’S OWN MILESTONES
Founded in 1908 and reborn in 2009, GM’s global presence
dates to the early 20th Century when Sun Yat-sen, the first president of China,
and Pu Yi, the last emperor, took their first automobile ride in a 1912 Buick.
By 1931, GM owned Vauxhall in the United Kingdom, Holden in Australia and Opel
GM’s first manufacturing joint venture with SAIC in China –
Shanghai GM – began in 1997. China is now GM’s largest market, where it has 11
joint ventures and two wholly owned foreign enterprises.
Hundreds of GM innovations have helped change the industry,
including the first V-8 engine, first automatic transmission, first automotive
crash test dummies and first air bags in a production vehicle.
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