Wagoner through the years - video interviews with the GM CEO, 1999-2006
There are three video interviews on YouTube from The Charlie Rose Show with GM's president and CEO Rick Wagoner. They were done in 1999, 2002 and 2006. It's really an amazing look at the developments in the car industry over those years. In the 1999 interview, the two men talk about "unheard of" price reductions and the 2000 SUV, which is larger than ever. Rick is also really excited by the new technology called Onstar. That video is below the fold.
In 2002, they get into deeper price reductions and talk of slowing sales for SUVs. You can almost see the interest in green issues grow, becoming equal to concerns about market share and China. This interview is the most interesting and is at the top of this post. 26 minutes in, after asking Rick about fuel cells, Charlie asks if Rick believes electric cars and hybrids are "the wave of the future." This is what Rick says.
"I think we tried electric and I think the conclusion is honestly that doesn't look like the answer. We think we can improve gas engines. We think that there will be a role for hybrids, which is a combination of some form of battery power and gas or diesel. We think there is a role for those but they are inherently at a disadvantage because you are paying for two propulsion systems. So we think there is going to be a role and this will evolve. But if you ask what could 10,20,30,40 years ultimately replace or begin to replace the internal combustion engine without big consumer trade offs, I think the best best bet is fuel cells."
He is then asked about peak oil and global warming. The 2006 interview, also below the fold, talks about the shift to cross overs and "imminent" release of hybrids. GM's doubts about hybrids is not really news. I could write about the rise of hybrids, growth in cross overs, public attitudes towards climate change, etc. but you see it in the greying hair of the CEO of GM in these videos.