After the Washington Times Water Cooler blog reported last month that General Motor’s “joint venture” partner Shanghai GM was sponsoring a Communist Chinese Party propaganda film titled “The Birth of a Party” or “The Great Achievement of Founding the Party”, which will premiere next week, GM corporate responded that they do not endorse the editorial actions of Shanghai GM’s involvement in the film.
In fact, GM went as far to tell me that Shanghai GM was a completely separate entity from GM Corporate. However, GM has no problems touting that Shanghai GM in China is outselling it’s American counter-part:
“The United States government currently owns 33% of the GM company following the auto-bailouts of 2009, and GM CEO Daniel Akerson describes China as the ‘key to [GM’s] success.’ (h/t The Detroit Bureau)”
Interestingly, at the end of a June 6 article in the Detroit News Mr. Akerson makes a curious reference to China’s 1960’s cultural revolution as an analogy to GM’s current businesss strategy. When asked by the paper whether he would recommend a successor for his position from within GM ranks or suggest the board look for someone from the outside, he answered :
“Whoever comes after me — it’s going to be a more important appointment than mine because he or she will have to carry on a cultural revolution here,” Akerson said. “It’s just like the Communist party in China in the 1960s: There has to be a cultural revolution here.”
After distancing itself, from Shanghai GM’s move to sponsor the Chinese Communist Propaganda film due out soon, that was likely a bad choice of words.
The article itself lays out GM’s new business plan to compete with other auto makers and build more momentum in the international community:
Dan Akerson is prepping General Motors Co. for battle. Nine months on the job, the 62-year-old CEO has shaken up GM’s top management, hired engineers from rivals Hyundai, Honda and Nissan, and rattled the automaker’s rigid, old mindset.
“This is modern man’s version of war,” said Akerson, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. “We must win. You can’t go home at 5 and check out. And that was the culture here.”
Akerson’s tenure — three or four years, by his own forecast — will test his ability to sustain GM’s still-fragile recovery and keep the automaker from repeating the mistakes that drove it into a government-financed bankruptcy two years ago.