Top auto analyst reviews GM naming Mary Barra new company CEO

Top auto analyst reviews GM naming Mary Barra new company CEO

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Mary Barra Mary Barra

Mary Barra, 51, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, was elected by the Board of Directors to become the next CEO of the company.

Michelle Krebs, senior analyst with edmunds.com, joins Fox 2's Murray Feldman to discuss the decision.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch the live interview with Krebs, or read the transcript below
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FELDMAN: Are you surprised at the choice?

KREBS: Not at all. I'm surprised at the timing. Dan Akerson had hinted that he was ready to go. He'd really been a big advocate for Mary Barra. There had been other candidates but she definitely had the inside track.

FELDMAN: She had the inside track, and I guess you could say there are two things that sell a car. One of them is quality and one of them is product, and she was really all over both of those.

KREBS: She came up through the manufacturing rank. She knew a lot about quality, how to put a car together. And her most recent job, she was in charge of the actual design engineering development of the car and in charge of the parts procurement. So, she has done all that there is in terms of building and developing cars.

FELDMAN: And on that note, Michelle, as we see her standing with all of those cars, she is a car person. She came from right there with those automobiles. She did not come up the ranks as many of the other people did, previously holding this position, such as finance like Dan Akerson.

KREBS: Her roots go way back. Her dad was a tool and dye maker. She went to Kettering, which is a school that trains engineers. She came up the tough way. Manufacturing is a tough way to come up the ranks.

FELDMAN: And as we look at what happened today, and we see the North American International car and truck of the year, there are six finalists combined. Three of them are General Motors, I mean, that's a feather in her cap. She did have something to do with that.

KREBS: Absolutely. I tell people, the proof is in the product. They have a big chunk of the vehicles on the list and I think they could sweep the awards, actually.

FELDMAN: You mean winning both car and truck of the year?

KREBS: I think it's possible.

FELDMAN: And of course that happens on January 13th or 14th; it will be the first day of press preview and you know we'll have that live for you on the phone as it happens from Cobalt. Next year looks like it's turning out to be the best year that General Motors will have had in decades.

KREBS: Yes. We think it will be a really good year for the auto industry. We're predicting $16.4 million sales and that will be up for a from 15.5 this year. And it should be a very good year for General Motors because they have a ton of new products and if you have the products you're the winner.

FELDMAN: Alright, then we get back to her because we're talking about products and we're talking about quality, what do you think is the biggest issue she is going to face?

KREBS: Well I think they have to fight against complacency. They can't just say 'Oh, we're on a roll!' because, in this industry, you've got to always be on the roll. You've got to keep that pipeline full and flowing. They've got the issue of Europe that's been losing money and they've got to fix that situation.

FELDMAN: Alright, but it looks like they're starting to turn the corner.

KREBS: It looks that way.

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