General Motors is one of the leading automobile manufacturers of the world with operations across 6 continents. The company has built a strong brand image and brought a large range of automobiles that include cars, trucks, crossovers, SUVs and automobile parts. General Motors also places a heavy focus on innovation and Cruise is its global segment responsible for the development and commercialization of autonomous vehicle technology. In 2017, GM sold off its Opel and Vauxhall businesses to Peugeot, SA (PSA group). General Motors was incorporated in 2008 and has its headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. The company also employs more than 180,000 people worldwide. GM has divided its automobile business into two main segments that include general Motors North America and General Motors International. The popular GM brands that sell mainly across North America include Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC brands. Apart from that outside the United States, it is the GM International segment that is responsible for the marketing and sales of Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, and Holden brands.
In fiscal 2019, the company generated net revenue of $137.24 billion from the sales of 7.7 million vehicles worldwide. The United States and China are the two leading markets of GM products. In 2019, GM sold around 2.9 million vehicle units in the United States and around 3.1 million vehicle units in China. The company is continuously investing in research and innovation to bring new and more efficient car models to the market. However, the automobile industry has grown highly competitive and apart from the quality of its products, the competitive strength of a brand relies on other factors too like brand equity, marketing, and product innovation. There are several leading players in the automobile industry with a global presence that compete with General Motors. However, based on market share, GM is still the best selling brand in the United States but Ford, FCA, and Toyota are close behind.
Leading Competitors of General Motors (GM)
Ford Motors is also one of the leading players in the automobile industry that has maintained a strong global presence and caters to a large segment of consumers worldwide through its large product range. Like GM, Ford also places a heavy focus on product innovation. Jim Hackett is the CEO of Ford Motors and the company has its headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, United States.Apart from the other markets globally, Ford is a leading competitor of General Motors in the United States market. The US is the core market of General Motors accounting for a sizeable part of its revenue where Ford is trailing GM. Ford is considered a highly reliable brand in the US and its strong brand equity has resulted in strong sales in its domestic market.
Toyota is a Japanese automobile manufacturer and one of the leading automobile firms with a global sales and distribution network. The company enjoys strong brand recognition and sales worldwide in most corners of the world. It is a brand that places heavy focus upon innovation and is a leading competitor of General Motors. The United States is also one of the leading markets of Toyota, apart from Japan. Toyota has also brought a large product range to the market which includes cars, SUVs, crossovers, and trucks. As an automobile brand, Toyota also enjoys strong brand equity because of its focus on safety and innovation. Globally, Toyota sold 8.98 million vehicle units in 2019 and its revenue was 30,225.6 Billion Yen.
Hyundai is also a highly popular brand of automobiles that offers a large range of products that cater to the needs of various customer segments including premium automobiles under the Kia brand. Hyundai is also an innovative car brand that has grown its focus on environment-friendly and technologically advanced cars in recent years. It has brought a large range of electric cars and hybrids to the market. In 2019, Hyundai sold a total of 4.4 million vehicles and its sales revenue was 105,746 billion KRW.
Nissan is among the leading and well-known automobile car brands of the world that enjoys high brand recognition and strong brand equity in most corners of the world. Some of its SUVs are enjoying very high popularity in many corners of the world. Nissan’s partnership with Mitsubishi and Renault has also worked well. However, the company is dealing with several challenges after the financial scandal (CEO Carlos Ghosn was the main person involved in the scandal). The company is still enjoying a strong position in key markets which is mainly due to its continuous focus on innovation and product range.
Renault is one of the highly recognized brands of automobiles with a strong presence in several leading automobile markets in the world. Europe is the leading market of Renault where its vehicles are highly popular. France is the biggest market for Renault vehicles followed by Russia, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Apart from that Renault has also maintained a strong presence in the electric car segment in Europe. The brands owned by Renault include Renault, Renault Samsung Motors, Dacia, Alpine & Lada. Renault is also a part of the Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi Alliance.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is also one of the leading car manufacturers in the world with a strong market presence globally and a large product range. FCA is among the leading competitors of GM with a strong market share and a large customer base worldwide. The headquarters of FCA is in London, United Kingdom and the company has operations worldwide in 40 countries. However, the company has a large and extensive sales and distribution network spread across 135 countries. FCA has a large product range which includes some of the most famous automobile brands priced in various ranges and catering to the needs of a diverse segment of customers. Its product portfolio includes brands like Fiat, Dodge, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Ram, and Abarth brands.
Honda is also an innovative brand of automobiles with a strong presence and market share in several leading automobile markets of the world. Honda’s product portfolio also includes motorcycles apart from automobiles. Apart from a large range of cars, SUVs and other related mobility products and services, the company is present in several more segments. Its portfolio includes Honda and Acura automobiles, Powersports, HondaJet, Power Equipment, Marine and Engines. So, Honda’s product portfolio is much more diversified which has enabled stronger growth for the brand. Honda is also one of the top five automobile brands in the US automobile industry based on market share.
Volkswagen is also one of the largest carmakers in the world with the largest market share overall. VW has a diversified product portfolio that includes cars, SUVs, trucks and commercial vehicles in various price segments from affordable to premium and luxury. According to a report, VW held the largest market share in 2019 overall in the global automobile industry followed by Toyota and the Renault Nissan Alliance. Despite being rocked by the Diesel scandal, VW made a strong return and has enjoyed sales growth in recent years. VW’s market share in the US may be much lower compared to GM but in the other parts of the world including China where VW’s Audi is among the best selling models in the premium car segment, it has maintained a strong and leading position among all the car makers of the world. Moreover, VW’s large product portfolio and global presence have helped it reach a wider segment of consumers in the industry. VW owns some of the most iconic premium, luxury, and sports car brands like Audi, Bugatti & Porsche.
Daimler AG is also a leading competitor of General Motors in the premium vehicles and the commercial vehicles segment. The owner of the Mercedes brand makes a large range of products in the premium segment and has maintained a strong presence in the North American market as well as several other corners of the world. Apart from the Mercedes brand, Daimler also owns the Daimler, Fuso, and Western Star brands as well as the Smart brand of small cars. Daimler has a portfolio of brands that make elegant premium vehicles. Apart from being one of the biggest manufacturers of premium cars, Daimler AG is also the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles. Its large product portfolio includes premium cars, buses, coaches, trucks as well as Vans, hybrids and small cars made by the Smart brand.
BMW is a leading premium car brand with its headquarters in Munich, Germany. BMW’s product range includes only premium and luxury cars. Its product portfolio also includes the Mini and Rolls-Royce car brands which are also premium and luxury car brands. The company has brought a select range of models including cars, small cars and SUVs to the market. BMW is a leading competitor of General Motors in the premium car segment. Apart from being an innovative brand, BMW is also a highly recognized brand in the automobile industry with strong brand equity and global popularity.
Volvo is also one of the highly recognized names in the automobile industry with a large product portfolio or premium automobiles. Volvo sells premium cars in three versions which include sedans (S60, S90), versatile estates (V40, V60, V90) and SUV vehicles (XC40, XC60, XC90). Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars) is owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China. In 2010, the Geely Holding company bought it from Ford Motors. Today, Volvo has sales in around 100 countries. There are around 2300 local dealers of Volvo located all around the world and most of them are independent companies. The largest market of Volvo cars is China followed by the US. In 2018, Volvo sold 642,253 cars. Volvo is also a leading competitor of the premium models sold by General Motors.
The India based manufacturer of trucks, cars, SUVs, and buses also owns the iconic Jaguar Land Rover brand which it acquired from Ford Motors in 2008. TATA is also one of the leading competitors of GM in the Indian market. However, its Jaguar Land Rover brand offers a large range of cars and SUVs which enjoy very high recognition and popularity worldwide. JLR cars are still produced in the United Kingdom.
GM is all set to embrace an electric future and that makes it a key competitor of Tesla and vice versa. Tesla gained significantly in 2019 in terms of sales and market expansion. China and the United States are both among the leading markets of Tesla which continues to grow its influence significantly fast. However, to counter the competitive pressure from Tesla, GM’s brands will be introducing new EVs. GM has also built a new battery cell which offers higher mileage than Tesla’s battery cells. So, in the near future competition between Tesla and GM is going to heat up significantly.
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