General Motors - Financial Ratio Analysis

General Motors - Financial Ratio Analysis

I. General Motors History Highlights

In its early years the automobile industry consisted of hundreds of firms, each
producing a few models. William Durant, who bought and reorganized a failing
Buick Motors in 1904, determined that if several automobile makers would unite,
it would increase the protection for the group. He formed the General Motors
Company in Flint, Michigan, in 1908.

Durant had bought 17 companies (including Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and Pontiac) by
1910, the year a bankers\' syndicate forced him to step down. In a 1915 stock
swap, he regained control through Chevrolet, a company he had formed with race
car driver Louis Chevrolet. GM created the GM Acceptance Corporation (auto
financing) and acquired a number of businesses, including Fisher Body,
Frigidaire (sold in 1979), and a small bearing company, Hyatt Roller Bearing.
With the Hyatt acquisition came Alfred Sloan, an administrative genius who would
build GM into a corporate colossus.

Sloan, president from 1923 to 1937, implemented a decentralized management
system, now emulated worldwide. The auto maker competed by offering models
ranging from luxury to economy, colors besides black, and yearly style
modifications. By 1927 it had become the industry leader.

GM introduced a line of front-wheel-drive compacts in 1979. Under Roger Smith,
CEO from 1981 to 1990, GM laid off thousands of workers as part of a massive
companywide restructuring and cost cutting program.

In 1984 GM formed NUMMI with Toyota as an experiment to see if Toyota\'s
manufacturing techniques would work in the US. The joint venture\'s first car was
the Chevy Nova. GM bought Ross Perot\'s Electronic Data Systems (1984) and Hughes
Aircraft (1986). In 1989 the company bought 50% of Saab Automobile.

In 1990 GM launched Saturn, its first new nameplate since 1926, reflecting a new
companywide emphasis on quality. Two years later it made the largest stock
offering in US history, raising $2.2 billion. Culminating a period of boardroom
coups (relating to the company\'s lagging effort to reduce costs) in the early
1990s, John Smith replaced Robert Stempel as CEO.

NBC apologized in 1993 for improprieties in its expose alleging that GM pickups
equipped with "sidesaddle" gas tanks tended to explode upon side impact. The
government nonetheless asked the company to recall 4.7 million trucks. A
unanimous federal appeals court in 1995 overturned the settlement of a national
class action suit involving the pickups. That year GM sold its National Car
Rental business to a group of investors led by former Chrysler executive William

In 1996 the United Auto Workers struck at 2 GM plants in Ohio over the company\'s
increasing its outsourcing of brake parts. The strike lasted 17 days, idling 24
of the automaker\'s 29 North American plants (reflecting the vulnerability of
just-in-time supply chains), and ended with neither side satisfied.

GM sued Volkswagen in 1996, alleging the German automaker encouraged former GM
executive Ignacio Lopez to defect to Volkswagen with boxes of proprietary
company information. The bitter dispute led to Lopez\'s resignation from
Volkswagen and was resolved in early 1997 when VW agreed to pay GM $100 million
and purchase $1 billion of parts from GM over 7 years. In 1996 GM spun off EDS
(with a market value of $27 billion) to shareholders. Also that year GM agreed
to sell 4 of its parts plants to Peregrine Inc. (formed by investment firm
Joseph Littlejohn & Levy) for an undisclosed amount. In late 1996 GM began
producing Chevrolet Blazers in Russia.

II. General Information


BMW, British Aerospace, Chrysler, Daimler-Benz, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia,
Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault, Suzuki, Toyota,
Volkswagen and Volvo.


Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Geo, GMC, Oldsmobile, Opel/Vauxhall, Pontiac and

Other Operations Delphi Automotive Systems (vehicle components) General Motors
Acceptance Corporation (financing and insurance) Hughes Electronics Corporation
(electronic systems) International Operations (autos for foreign markets) North
American Operations (autos for North America)

III. Statistics & Financial Summary

1995 Sales
$ mil. % of total Manufactured
products 143,666 85 Financial services
11,664 7 Computer systems services 8,531
5 Other 4,968 3 Total
168,829 100

1995 Vehicle Unit Deliveries No. (000\'s) % of total US
4,895 59 Europe
1,725 21 Latin America, Africa & the Middle East 647
8 Asia & Pacific 624 7 Canada
385 5 Mexico
48 0 Total 8,324

1993 1994 1995 Sales ($
mil.) 133,622 150,592 163,861 Net income ($
mil.) 2,466 5,659 6,933 Income as % of sales
1.8% 3.8% 4.2% Earnings per share ($)
2.13 6.20 7.28 Stock price - high ($) 57.13
65.38 53.13 Stock price - low ($) 32.00
36.13 37.25 Stock price - close ($) 54.88 42.13
52.88 P/E - high 27 11