General Motors’ new chief seeks worldwide gain in market share

By Joseph Szczesny, AFP

DETROIT–The new chief of General Motors vowed to keep a steady hand on the wheel Thursday as she seeks to expand global market share and complete a major turnaround at the U.S. automaker’s troubled European unit. “To me, what’s important is we’re focused on the product,” Mary Barra, who took over as chief executive officer last week, told reporters at GM headquarters in Detroit. Barra said she did not expect to make major changes in the strategies she inherited from outgoing chief Dan Akerson, who successfully steered GM back into profitability and independence after a government-backed bankruptcy. “There is a strategy and the word (from me) is accelerate,” she said in her first lengthy discussion with journalists since becoming the first woman to head a major automaker.

“Don’t expect any right or left turns.” GM plans to maintain robust investment in the development of new vehicles and continue its disciplined approach to pricing and incentives even as the rapid growth in U.S. sales is expected to plateau.