This case is set in 2022, a year after Mary Barra, chair and CEO of General Motors (GM), set a goal to phase out production of gas-powered (internal combustion engine [ICE]) vehicles and only sell electric vehicles (EVs) by 2035. At the time of the announcement, no other large automaker had set a target date for exclusively producing EVs. GM said it would invest $35 billion over the next five years to build its EV production capabilities and capacity, including the manufacture of batteries. As one management scholar stated, "There is a huge disruption coming."
The protagonist is a prospective employee who would lead investor relations for GM, and who is interested in learning about the company's objectives, potential pitfalls, and greatest strengths. She will need to evaluate how to communicate the EV transition to stakeholders, and the GM employees are one specific audience. The case introduces opportunities to discuss labor unions, a powerful force in the US automobile industry. A variety of financial tables and graphs in the case exhibits enable instructors to focus on topics they feel are most appropriate for their individual courses.