General Motors Co. reported first quarter earnings of $865 million Thursday, a day after Nissan Motor Co. announced it plans to cut the prices of seven of its 18 models in the U.S. On a conference call with financial analysts, GM CEO Dan Akerson and Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann were asked about the weakening Japanese yen and how it could impact competition.
QUESTION: Can you give a sense of how much your market share may have benefited over the past few years as the yen has been so strong, and perhaps how much of a headwind this could be as the Japanese either improve their product or the value proposition?
ANSWER (Dan Ammann): We've sort of gone through the exercise, but it's hard to go back and divine exactly how much market-share movement is attributable to what. So I mean the way we look at it is we compete in the marketplace every month, month-in and month-out. We have our strategies, we have our vehicle portfolio, we have our launch activity, we have all the things we're doing. We keep a close eye on the competitive dynamics, whether it's currency driven or something else driven, and adjust course as we need to on a month-to-month basis at least at the tactical level. So we'll keep an eye on what people are doing here.
The market share dynamics through the first four months of the year, I mean, you've clearly seen them, as we have, which have been favorable to us and to some of our domestic competitors. We'll see how people react and how they play it out. So it's too soon to make a call, really.
(Dan Akerson): I think it varies by market. For example, in the U.S., some of our Japanese competitors are manufacturing a lot of product here in North America and their supply chain is, to some extent — and it will vary by competitor — sourced in North America. Where I'm particularly vigilant is, how did it impact us in lesser developed countries, emerging market countries, where both U.S. and Japanese competitors are exporting into or out of a base that might be in Japan or might be in Korea or China or whatever. So it's hard to isolate this and give it a broad brush. It's very specific to, by country, by region.
- Japanese yen