GM Buick circa 1941, Saturday Evening Post, 1941

Disruption Old and New in the Automotive Industry

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There’s a fascinating article at IndustryWeek on disruption in the automotive industry. Steve Kiefer, Vice president global purchasing and supply chain at General Motors, makes it clear that GM has been disrupting the automotive industry for over a 100 years.

How did a backfiring Cadillac lead to increased mobility for women? Kiefer explains…

In 1908, Cadillac founder Henry Leland was so upset that the hand-crank engine on a car backfired and killed a man (the crank slapped the man in the face) that Leland “really pushed to put the electric starter motor into place.”

With the introduction of the electric starter motor, “all of a sudden the automobile became accessible to everyone,” said Kiefer, who since 2013 has led GM’s global purchasing and supply chain. “Women started driving and the car was exponentially more accessible. Mobility increased, and this in that time frame was clearly a disruptor.”

In 1966, GM engineered the first hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, and just a few years later “GM would traverse the moon” with navigation and guidance technology in the Apollo moon mission and the mobility systems in the Lunar Roving Vehicle. In 1996, GM pioneered the EV, the predecessor to the Volt, and two weeks ago the 2017 all-electric Bolt, which won the Best of the Consumer Electronics Show for automotive technology two weeks ago.

And let’s not forget OnStar, which pioneered the connected car in 1996 in GM’s Cadillac.

Read the full article: Disruption Old and New

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