Barra, not surprisingly, took a glass-half-full approach in her first turn as GM head honcho during an earnings conference call with industry analysts and journalists.
"Through a lot of hard work, the GM team has made the business stronger than it was just one short year ago," she said Thursday at the start of her eight-minute opening remarks.
She ticked off a litany of good news from 2013: strong quality scores from
Chevrolet, she added, won a slew of accolades for the new Impala, the new Corvette Stingray and Silverado pickup.
And the bad news?
The automaker reported a fourth-quarter profit of
GM's worldwide revenue rose 3% to
When analysts directly asked Barra some loaded questions about perceived trouble spots for GM, she stayed resolutely confident and upbeat.
In response to one pointed query about GM's pickup market share lagging and whether that might prompt price discounting, she noted that the Silverado "has gotten great reviews ... I have a lot of confidence in these (truck) products, and we will still maintain our pricing discipline."
Asked what she saw as the biggest challenges or threats facing GM, Barra described herself as a "glass-half-full person" and responded by talking about opportunities rather than threats.
"I think we've got a strong product cadence ... We need to continue to build our brands ... I think we all know that's a multi-year activity. You don't recover in one year or two from a historical perspective" in the passenger car segment, she said.
"My goal," she added, "is every segment we choose to compete in around the world, we're going to win."
It's hard to argue with that as a goal. But it's also
We can't judge Barra as CEO yet, of course. She's barely out of the starting gate.
And if GM stumbled just as she hopped in the saddle and took the reins, well, at least that's out of the way.
Somehow I sense that she's grounded enough to handle a few bumps, as she indicated after telling an interviewer from
"What I always say is, 'Do every job you're in like you're going to do it for the rest of your life and demonstrate that ownership of it.' You deliver and produce results and you do it with high integrity and teamwork, and it'll all work out. You don't have to ask for different jobs, and you don't have to ask for raises," she told Fortune.
Barra has no shortage of challenges as she settles into the hot seat at GM, but she does have
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