Futuribles Journal n° 319

Entreprises, travail

General Motors: the Death of a Giant? A Cultural Challenge


The victims of economic globalization are not confined to France: certain American firms, too, are suffering from global competition, having failed to find ways of adapting in order to survive. Among them, General Motors, a symbol of American manufacturing for almost a century, is currently going through a critical period. After being a world leader in vehicle manufacturing for decades, the company is having to cope with social costs that it cannot meet as well as a sharp fall in domestic demand for its products (which used to be its main source of earnings), the end of low oil prices, while at the same time it has not made adequate investments in research and innovation such as have allowed a rival like Toyota to gain a comfortable foothold in the sector.
This is a major challenge, as Michel Drancourt shows in this article, presenting the history of the firm and the various problems it must resolve. And if there is to be a favourable outcome, he argues, it can come only if General Motors is prepared to take real risks - for example, by investing heavily in innovation to prepare for the time when the oil has run out or radically changing its approach to the international market for vehicles.

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