DETROIT – Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s been a rough year for most businesses and the auto industry is doing its best to recover.
On Monday evening, General Motors CEO Mary Barra did an expansive “fireside chat” with the Automotive Press Association.
Local 4′s Business Editor Rod Meloni is an APA Board Member and was on the call to hear from Barra and report on what she said.
Barra said she expects the auto industry to take a big sales hit. Roughly three million units won’t get built and sold compared to last year. That’s going to add up industry-wide to billions of dollars. But that doesn’t mean things are bleak -- despite shareholder concerns, Barra remains upbeat.
“We’re at a critical point for our company, the industry and for our country and frankly for our globe. I think 2020 will go down in history as a tragic year because of the human and economy devastation of the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Barra said.
Barra is also standing by her commitment to help the African American community.
“We will be naming the Inclusion Advisory Board in the next couple of weeks, if not sooner. I’m very pleased with how it’s come together and the commitment but we recognize there’s more that we can do. More that we must do and more that we will do,” Barra said.
Barra has promised to donate $10 million for diversity causes and has given $1 million to the NAACP. Barra expects no employee cuts in the near future and expects many officer workers to be headed back to their desks before too long.
“We believe we’ll be back to what we’re labeling full production by the end of the month. We’re calling full production, but obviously in some segments we’re watching when market demand will be,” Barra said.
There is no auto show this year and she said the public missed out on a lot of the company’s electric and autonomous vehicles. The autonomous vehicle testing continued delivering food to the needy during the pandemic. She did say there’s a new convertible Corvette she’s looking forward to showing.