An outside analyst considers Hyundai's returns out of reach, since the Korean firm benefits from exchange rates and more efficient platform sharing. The analyst also considers that GM will only find "a rounding error" in its pursuit of leaner white collar operations, but that might be enough to start. When considering closer GM competitors, through the first nine months of this year, Volkswagen could boast an operating margin of 7.7 percent, Ford's is 6.7 and Toyota is aiming to reach five percent (down from almost nine percent before its recall crisis and the recently steroidal yen). In that case, even a rounding error will make a statement.
Even though we're dealing with a "new" GM, talk of reassigned engineers can easily remind one of the dark days when fat-trimming exercises turned into amputations and handicapped product on the showroom floor. Yet the company is on the up with the continued momentum of anticipated products, and this is what every world class company is required to do. Still, we'll be watching closely.