Major auto shows present unique opportunities to get up close with senior executives from the big automakers. Many of these folks are rarely available for media interviews, but when they are they can offer fascinating insights into the thinking behind their companies' new products and major initiatives.
We -- the Motley Fool's John Rosevear and Rex Moore -- were at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. While there, we had conversations with several big-name executives -- including Ford (NYSE:F) CEO Alan Mulally and Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, and General Motors' (NYSE:GM) Bob Ferguson, the executive who runs GM's Cadillac luxury brand.
Aside from Cadillac's leaders, GM executives were scarce at the show -- but a few big names turned out to watch the unveiling of the latest hot Corvette, the 2015 Corvette Z06. One of those was Dan Ammann, who took over as GM's new president in January. Ammann, a former Wall Street banker who had previously served as GM's chief financial officer, is known to be a "car guy", and a fan of high-performance Corvettes. We weren't surprised to see him at this event, and we rushed to listen in when he stayed to give brief remarks to the media afterwards.
Ammann may be a Corvette fan, but in his conversations with the media after the new Vette was revealed, the talk quickly turned to GM's ongoing corporate overhaul. Not long ago, GM announced plans to close its factory in Australia, where its Holden brand has seen declining sales. In this short video, shot right on the show floor, you'll hear Ammann -- a native New Zealander -- talk to an Australian reporter about the importance of the Holden brand and the thinking behind GM's restructuring efforts in the region.