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Analysis of General Motors

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  1. Introduction
  2. What is your evaluation of GM's strategy and organization for developing fuel cell technology?
  3. What explains the different approaches to this technology among GM's competition in terms of technical choices, make/buy decisions, levels of investment and overall enthusiasm?
  4. Should Burns pursue the approach to fuel cells embodied in autonomy, or adopt a more incremental approach? Why? Why not?
  5. Should Burns divert money from its fuel cell program to invest in hybrids? Why, Why not?
  6. What could be role of design in this approach? Substantiate your position.
  7. Conclusion

General Motors Company incorporated in 1908 is a multinational car manufacturer with headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. In this case study, GM intends to offer products with either less energy consumption or consumption of new fuel, with new design.

Actually, General Motors possesses rich resources, including several international car brands and assets over the world. In terms of process, the company has centralized testing and research laboratory to serve its constituent companies. In fact, the research and development department has as its objective to be more focused on developing effectively and efficiently on innovative projects identifying emergent technologies that might become strategically important in later years. Even though, General Motors invested in ventures with small companies developing related technologies.

In the frame of the Autonomy project, the company is sustaining innovation in short term; it offers the new technology as well as the improved performance of the product in extension of existing business model, the targeted consumers are already car owners, but interested in new incremental breakthrough technologies. In this case, the consumers are people who do not possess a driving license; cannot afford to change their vehicle; urban inhabitants are major users of public transportation because of the high fuel price and the parking issue.

[...] Why, Why not? The AUTOnomy system is clearly a radical change in the way of considering the car manufacturing industry, but isn't it too radical for the customers? ? Why should Burns pursue the approach to fuel cells embodied in AUTOnomy? Burns could pursue the approach to fuel cells and particularly the AUTOnomy concept because it's very innovative and that could become the standard in this industry and so GM would be the first on this market and so they would be the leader. [...]

[...] Thus GM keeps one length ahead of all its competitors. In term of brand image, GM should also have positive fallouts. Indeed in people minds GM would be synonymous of radical changes and see as the inventor of ?the future car?. For the AUTOnomy design allows to redesign the entire interior of cars, and consequently you have no more any constraint to take into account, but safety measures. So designers could give free rein to their imagination, and carry out some projects that they just do not dare thinking of today. [...]

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