How General Motors does its business

General Motors Corporation, also known as GM, an American multinational corporation, is the world's largest auto company by annual production volume for 2006, and the second largest by sales volume as of the first half of 2007, behind Toyota Motor Corporation. Founded in 1908, in Flint, Michigan, GM employs approximately 284,000 people around the world.

In the late 1990s, the U.S. economy was on the rise and GM and Ford gained market share producing enormous profits primarily from the sale of light trucks and sport-utility vehicles.

From 2000 to 2001, the Federal Reserve in a move to quell the stock market, made twelve successive interest rate increases. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, a severe stock market decline caused a pension and benefit fund underfunding crisis. GM began its Keep America Rolling campaign, which boosted sales, and other auto makers were forced to follow suit. The U.S. automakers saw sales increase to leverage costs as gross margins deteriorated. Although retiree health care costs remain a significant issue, General Motors' investment strategy has generated a $17.1 billion surplus in 2007 in its $101 billion U.S pension fund portfolio, a $35 billion reversal from its $17.8 billion of underfunding.[7]

In 2004, GM redirected resources from the development of new sedans to an accelerated refurbishment of their light trucks and SUVs for introduction as 2007 models in early 2006. Shortly after this decision, fuel prices increased by over 50% and this in turn affected both the trade-in value of used vehicles and the perceived desirability of new offerings in these market segments. The current marketing plan to extensively tout these revised vehicles as offering the best fuel economy in their class (of vehicle). GM claims its hybrid trucks will have gas-mileage improvements of 25%.

In the summer of 2005, GM announced that its corporate chrome emblem "Mark of Excellence" will begin appearing on all recently introduced and all-new 2006 model vehicles produced and sold in North America. The move is seen as an attempt by GM to link its name and vehicle brands more closely.

In 2005, GM promoted sales through an employee discount to all buyers. Marketed as the lowest possible price, GM cleared an inventory buildup of 2005 models to make way for its 2006 lineup. While the promotion was a temporary shot in the arm for sales, it did not help the company's bottom line. GM has since changed its marketing strategy to a no haggle sticker policy in which all vehicle prices are lowered, but incentives are reduced, if not eliminated.