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GM makes Time's 100 Most Influential Companies: Here's why



General Motors has made TIME100's first-ever Most Influential Companies list in its stated quest for electric vehicle dominance — though CEO Mary Barra admits GM still has to "put a few more points on the board."

GM, Tesla and Volkswagen Group are the only other mainstream automakers to make the list, which includes companies such as Facebook, Google, Moderna, UPS, Netflix and Zoom.


Time revealed the list Tuesday. It also names BYD Co Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer of automobiles, battery-powered bicycles, buses, forklifts, solar panels and rechargeable batteries.


The TIME100 Most Influential Companies is a list of businesses making an extraordinary impact and shaping the future, said Kelsey Dupere, Time spokeswoman.

TIME solicited nominations across a variety of industries from its editors, correspondents and industry experts. It evaluated each nomination on relevance, impact, innovation, leadership, ambition and success, Dupere said.

As part of the list, Barra did an interview, sharing her thoughts on EV market leader Tesla, how EVs will change GM's workforce and GM's $85 billion market capitalization versus Tesla's $700 billion.


General Motors has made TIME100's first-ever Most Influential Companies list in its stated quest for electric vehicle dominance — though CEO Mary Barra admits GM still has to "put a few more points on the board." GM, Tesla and Volkswagen Group are the only other mainstream automakers to make the list, which includes companies such as Facebook, Google, Moderna, UPS, Netflix and Zoom. Time revealed the list Tuesday. It also names BYD Co Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer of automobiles, battery-powered bicycles, buses, forklifts, solar panels and rechargeable batteries. The TIME100 Most Influential Companies is a list of businesses making an extraordinary impact and shaping the future, said Kelsey Dupere, Time spokeswoman. TIME solicited nominations across a variety of industries from its editors, correspondents and industry experts. It evaluated each nomination on relevance, impact, innovation, leadership, ambition and success, Dupere said. As part of the list, Barra did an interview, sharing her thoughts on EV market leader Tesla, how EVs will change GM's workforce and GM's $85 billion market capitalization versus Tesla's $700 billion.

"One of the pieces I think that sometimes investors miss is that virtually all the assets necessary to achieve our vision we already have and have demonstrated. Sometimes we will forget we actually sell more vehicles in this country than anyone else," Barra told Time in relation to GM's market cap. "We have to tell our story better and put a few more points on the board"


GM has said it aspires for all its new light vehicles to be zero-emissions by 2035. Currently, EV sales are about 2% of the U.S. market, but President Joe Biden recently revealed an infrastructure plan that includes $174 billion targeted for EVs.

Some experts believe a transition to EVs will result in the erosion of certain jobs. Time asked Barra if GM has "had to have hard conversations with people who have spent their careers building internal combustion engines?"


"We already build electric vehicles. So we have training programs for people to understand the differences between an EV and an internal combustion engine. So, will work change? Yes, but work changes every day," Barra said. "A lot of the skills can be very transferable. A great software engineer, if they’re working on calibrating an internal combustion engine or doing software for an electric vehicle, it’s very transferable skills. The same is true for the men and women of our manufacturing team. It’s not so much about hard conversations, it’s just helping people understand where we’re going and the new skills that they need to learn."


Barra, who started at GM at age 18 while in engineering school, also talked about the influence her father, a die maker for GM, imparted to her. Her parents were raised during the Great Depression. They did not attend college, but "they believed in the American Dream and so hard work was how I was raised," along with a love for cars. On occasion her dad would bring one home from work and "the whole neighborhood would come over and my brother and I would look at every inch of it."

She also told Time that of all the pop songs that GM vehicles have been featured in, her personal favorite is “Little Red Corvette” by Prince.


"There’s so many songs: talking about the Chevy truck, they’re talking about the Corvette, they’re talking about their pink Cadillac," Barra said. "For most people, the vehicle that they purchase is either the most expensive or the second most expensive thing they buy in their lives. When I see our vehicles in songs, it’s because we’re part of their life."


Jamie LaReau for Detroit Free Press

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