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General Motors (GMC) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for General Motors (Germany)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , General Motors is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, there is backlash against globalization, technology disruption, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, increasing commodity prices, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, there is increasing trade war between United States & China, wage bills are increasing, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of General Motors


SWOT stands for an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats . At Oak Spring University, we believe that General Motors can use SWOT analysis as a strategic management tool to assess the current internal strengths and weaknesses of the General Motors, and to figure out the opportunities and threats in the macro environment – technological, environmental, political, economic, social, demographic, etc in which General Motors operates in.

According to Harvard Business Review, 75% of the managers use SWOT analysis for various purposes such as – evaluating current scenario, strategic planning, new venture feasibility, personal growth goals, new market entry, Go To market strategies, portfolio management and strategic trade-off assessment, organizational restructuring, etc.




SWOT Objectives / Importance of SWOT Analysis and SWOT Matrix


SWOT analysis of General Motors can be done for the following purposes –
1. Strategic planning of General Motors
2. Improving business portfolio management of General Motors
3. Assessing feasibility of the new initiative in Germany
4. Making a Auto & Truck Manufacturers sector specific business decision
5. Set goals for the organization
6. Organizational restructuring of General Motors




Strengths of General Motors | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The strengths of General Motors are -

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of General Motors comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry, building diversified operations across different geographies so that disruption in one part of the world doesn’t impact the overall performance of the firm, and integrating the various business operations and processes through its digital transformation drive.

Training and development

– General Motors has one of the best training and development program in Consumer Cyclical industry. The effectiveness of the training programs can be measured in – employees retention, in-house promotion, loyalty, new venture initiation, lack of conflict, and high level of both employees and customer engagement.

Innovation driven organization

– General Motors is one of the most innovative firm in Auto & Truck Manufacturers sector.

Learning organization

- General Motors is a learning organization. It has inculcated three key characters of learning organization in its processes and operations – exploration, creativity, and expansiveness. The work place at General Motors is open place that encourages instructiveness, ideation, open minded discussions, and creativity. Employees and leaders at General Motors emphasize – knowledge, initiative, and innovation.

Sustainable margins compare to other players in Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry

– General Motors has clearly differentiated products in the market place. This has enabled General Motors to fetch slight price premium compare to the competitors in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry. The sustainable margins have also helped General Motors to invest into research and development (R&D) and innovation.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

– Suppliers of General Motors in the Consumer Cyclical sector have low bargaining power. General Motors has further diversified its suppliers portfolio by building a robust supply chain across various countries. This helps General Motors to manage not only supply disruptions but also source products at highly competitive prices.

Analytics focus

– General Motors is putting a lot of focus on utilizing the power of analytics in business decision making. This has put it among the leading players in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry. The technology infrastructure of Germany is also helping it to harness the power of analytics for – marketing optimization, demand forecasting, customer relationship management, inventory management, information sharing across the value chain etc.

Digital Transformation in Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry

- digital transformation varies from industry to industry. For General Motors digital transformation journey comprises differing goals based on market maturity, customer technology acceptance, and organizational culture. General Motors has successfully integrated the four key components of digital transformation – digital integration in processes, digital integration in marketing and customer relationship management, digital integration into the value chain, and using technology to explore new products and market opportunities.

Organizational Resilience of General Motors

– The covid-19 pandemic has put organizational resilience at the centre of everthing General Motors does. Organizational resilience comprises - Financial Resilience, Operational Resilience, Technological Resilience, Organizational Resilience, Business Model Resilience, and Reputation Resilience.

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the General Motors are driving operational speed, building greater agility, and keeping the organization nimble to compete with new competitors. It helps are organization to ideate new ideas, and execute them swiftly in the marketplace.

Ability to recruit top talent

– General Motors is one of the leading players in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry in Germany. It is in a position to attract the best talent available in Germany. The firm has a robust talent identification program that helps in identifying the brightest.

Strong track record of project management in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry

– General Motors is known for sticking to its project targets. This enables the firm to manage – time, project costs, and have sustainable margins on the projects.






Weaknesses of General Motors | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of General Motors are -

Interest costs

– Compare to the competition, General Motors has borrowed money from the capital market at higher rates. It needs to restructure the interest payment and costs so that it can compete better and improve profitability.

High dependence on General Motors ‘s star products

– The top 2 products and services of General Motors still accounts for major business revenue. This dependence on star products in Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry has resulted into insufficient focus on developing new products, even though General Motors has relatively successful track record of launching new products.

Skills based hiring in Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at General Motors has created an environment where the organization is dominated by functional specialists rather than management generalist. This has resulted into product oriented approach rather than marketing oriented approach or consumers oriented approach.

High cash cycle compare to competitors

General Motors has a high cash cycle compare to other players in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry. It needs to shorten the cash cycle by 12% to be more competitive in the marketplace, reduce inventory costs, and be more profitable.

Lack of clear differentiation of General Motors products

– To increase the profitability and margins on the products, General Motors needs to provide more differentiated products than what it is currently offering in the marketplace.

Low market penetration in new markets

– Outside its home market of Germany, General Motors needs to spend more promotional, marketing, and advertising efforts to penetrate international markets.

High bargaining power of channel partners in Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry

– because of the regulatory requirements in Germany, General Motors is facing high bargaining power of the channel partners. So far it has not able to streamline the operations to reduce the bargaining power of the value chain partners in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry.

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, General Motors has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry over the last five years. General Motors even though has strong showing on digital transformation primary two stages, it has struggled to capitalize the power of digital transformation in marketing efforts and new venture efforts.

Ability to respond to the competition

– As the decision making is very deliberative at General Motors, in the dynamic environment of Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry it has struggled to respond to the nimble upstart competition. General Motors has reasonably good record with similar level competitors but it has struggled with new entrants taking away niches of its business.

Employees’ less understanding of General Motors strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of General Motors don’t have comprehensive understanding of the firm’s strategy. This is reflected in number of promotional campaigns over the last few years that had mixed messaging and competing priorities. Some of the strategic activities and services promoted in the promotional campaigns were not consistent with the organization’s strategy.

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of General Motors is just above the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry average. It needs to redesign the compensation structure and incentives to increase the revenue per employees. Some of the steps that it can take are – hiring more specialists on project basis, etc.




General Motors Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The opportunities of General Motors are -

Creating value in data economy

– The success of analytics program of General Motors has opened avenues for new revenue streams for the organization in Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry. This can help General Motors to build a more holistic ecosystem for General Motors products in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry by providing – data insight services, data privacy related products, data based consulting services, etc.

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at General Motors can make experimentation a productive activity and build a culture of innovation using approaches such as – mining transaction data, A/B testing of websites and selling platforms, engaging potential customers over various needs, and building on small ideas in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry.

Manufacturing automation

– General Motors can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Auto & Truck Manufacturers sector. It can use CAD and 3D printing to build a quick prototype and pilot testing products. It can leverage automation using machine learning and artificial intelligence to do faster production at lowers costs, and it can leverage the growth in satellite and tracking technologies to improve inventory management, transportation, and shipping.

Buying journey improvements

– General Motors can improve the customer journey of consumers in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry by using analytics and artificial intelligence. It can provide automated chats to help consumers solve their own problems, provide online suggestions to get maximum out of the products and services, and help consumers to build a community where they can interact with each other to develop new features and uses.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

– As the trade war between US and China heats up in the coming years, General Motors can build a diversified supply chain model across various countries in - South East Asia, India, and other parts of the world. This reconfiguration of global supply chain can help General Motors to buy more products closer to the markets, and it can leverage its size and influence to get better deal from the local markets.

Identify volunteer opportunities

– Covid-19 has impacted working population in two ways – it has led to people soul searching about their professional choices, resulting in mass resignation. Secondly it has encouraged people to do things that they are passionate about. This has opened opportunities for businesses to build volunteer oriented socially driven projects. General Motors can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

– As explained in the weaknesses section, General Motors is facing challenges because of the dominance of functional experts in the organization. General Motors can utilize new technology in the field of Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry to build more coordinated teams and streamline operations and communications using tools such as CAD, Zoom, etc.

Reconfiguring business model

– The expansion of digital payment system, the bringing down of international transactions costs using Bitcoin and other blockchain based currencies, etc can help General Motors to reconfigure its entire business model. For example it can used blockchain based technologies to reduce piracy of its products in the big markets such as China. Secondly it can use the popularity of e-commerce in various developing markets to build a Direct to Customer business model rather than the current Channel Heavy distribution network.

Low interest rates

– Even though inflation is raising its head in most developed economies, General Motors can still utilize the low interest rates to borrow money for capital investment. Secondly it can also use the increase of government spending in infrastructure projects to get new business.

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for General Motors to conduct training and development for its employees across the world. This will result in not only reducing the cost of training but also help employees in different part of the world to integrate with the headquarter work culture, ethos, and standards.

Lowering marketing communication costs

– 5G expansion will open new opportunities for General Motors in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.

Better consumer reach

– The expansion of the 5G network will help General Motors to increase its market reach. General Motors will be able to reach out to new customers. Secondly 5G will also provide technology framework to build new tools and products that can help more immersive consumer experience and faster consumer journey.

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

– The widespread usage of remote working technologies during Covid-19 has opened opportunities for General Motors to expand its talent hiring zone. According to McKinsey Global Institute, 20% of the high end workforce in fields such as finance, information technology, can continously work from remote local post Covid-19. This presents a really great opportunity for General Motors to hire the very best people irrespective of their geographical location.




Threats General Motors External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The threats of General Motors are -

Backlash against dominant players

– US Congress and other legislative arms of the government are getting tough on big business especially technology companies. The digital arm of General Motors business can come under increasing regulations regarding data privacy, data security, etc.

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, General Motors can face downward pressure on margins from increasing competition from international players. The international players have stable revenue in their home market and can use those resources to penetrate General Motors prominent markets.

Regulatory challenges

– General Motors needs to prepare for regulatory challenges as consumer protection groups and other pressure groups are vigorously advocating for more regulations on big business - to reduce inequality, to create a level playing field, to product data privacy and consumer privacy, to reduce the influence of big money on democratic institutions, etc. This can lead to significant changes in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry regulations.

Consumer confidence and its impact on General Motors demand

– There is a high probability of declining consumer confidence, given – high inflammation rate, rise of gig economy, lower job stability, increasing cost of living, higher interest rates, and aging demography. All the factors contribute to people saving higher rate of their income, resulting in lower consumer demand in Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry and other sectors.

Technology disruption because of hacks, piracy etc

– The colonial pipeline illustrated, how vulnerable modern organization are to international hackers, miscreants, and disruptors. The cyber security interruption, data leaks, etc can seriously jeopardize the future growth of the organization.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– General Motors can face lack of demand in the market place because of Fed actions to reduce inflation. This can lead to sluggish growth in the economy, lower demands, lower investments, higher borrowing costs, and consolidation in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry.

Learning curve for new practices

– As the technology based on artificial intelligence and machine learning platform is getting complex, General Motors may face longer learning curve for training and development of existing employees. This can open space for more nimble competitors in the field of Auto & Truck Manufacturers sector.

Environmental challenges

– General Motors needs to have a robust strategy against the disruptions arising from climate change and energy requirements. EU has identified it as key priority area and spending 30% of its 880 billion Euros European post Covid-19 recovery funds on green technology. General Motors can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– General Motors has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, General Motors needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Auto & Truck Manufacturers sector. According to Mckinsey study top managers believe that the adoption of technology in operations, communications is 20-25 times faster than what they planned in the beginning of 2019.

Aging population

– As the populations of most advanced economies are aging, it will lead to high social security costs, higher savings among population, and lower demand for goods and services in the economy. The household savings in US, France, UK, Germany, and Japan are growing faster than predicted because of uncertainty caused by pandemic.

Barriers of entry lowering

– As technology is more democratized, the barriers to entry to Auto & Truck Manufacturers industry are lowering. It can presents General Motors with greater competitive threats in the near to medium future. Secondly it will also put downward pressure on pricing throughout the Auto & Truck Manufacturers sector.

High dependence on third party suppliers

– General Motors high dependence on third party suppliers can disrupt its processes and delivery mechanism. For example -the current troubles of car makers because of chip shortage is because the chip companies started producing chips for electronic companies rather than car manufacturers.

Capital market disruption

– During the Covid-19, Dow Jones has touched record high. The valuations of a number of companies are way beyond their existing business model potential. This can lead to capital market correction which can put a number of suppliers, collaborators, value chain partners in great financial difficulty. It will directly impact the business of General Motors.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of General Motors Template, Example


Not all factors mentioned under the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants in the SWOT Analysis are equal. Managers at General Motors needs to zero down on the relative importance of each factor mentioned in the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants. We can provide the relative importance to each factor by assigning relative weights. Weighted SWOT analysis process is a three stage process –

First stage for doing weighted SWOT analysis of General Motors is to rank the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. This will help you to assess the most important strengths and weaknesses of the firm and which one of the strengths and weaknesses mentioned in the initial lists are marginal and can be left out.

Second stage for conducting weighted SWOT analysis of General Motors is to give probabilities to the external strategic factors thus better understanding the opportunities and threats arising out of macro environment changes and developments.

Third stage of constructing weighted SWOT analysis of General Motors to provide strategic recommendations includes – joining likelihood of external strategic factors such as opportunities and threats to the internal strategic factors – strengths and weaknesses. You should start with external factors as they will provide the direction of the overall industry. Secondly by joining probabilities with internal strategic factors can help the company not only strategic fit but also the most probably strategic trade-off that General Motors needs to make to build a sustainable competitive advantage.



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