Imagine telling Walter Chrysler and the Dodge brothers that their namesake companies would one day be ruled by a corporate overlord with a name sounding like a character from the Marvel Universe or a new erectile dysfunction medication – Stellantis.
Now, imagine telling William C. Durant that the horsepower conglomerate he founded could be getting a name with a moniker that could be confused for a mythical planet or a protective metal that helps Superman combat the effects of kryptonite – Ultium.
That’s exactly the proposition General Motors CEO Mary Barra admitted that she has entertained during a company earnings call today
On the call, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jones asked Barra why GM doesn’t change isn’t name to Ultium, the name it has given its new battery pack. GM has promised 20 new electric vehicles will debut by 2023.
In response, Barra had what some may call a Freudian slip, saying, “We’re going to make any change necessary to drive shareholder value,” before going on to explain that she “so strongly” believes in the “technology and our future product plans as it relates to electrification. That’s something that we evaluate and look at, when’s the right time and what are the proof points that … make it real. We believe strongly in our EV future.”
What just yesterday seemed like an almost preposterous idea, has apparently been worked on by GM executives who have studied ways to add a little luster to the GM brand identity.
Barra and other GM executives have continually pushed electrification as a strategy for success in a mobility-rich future.
Certainly stock prices and investment opportunities drive automakers. Ford is continuously discussed as having a low stock price while Tesla’s is soaring despite the fact that Ford has the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. and Tesla is the subject of Reddit pages filled with quality control issues and brand apologists making excuses.
Despite this, it looks, for now, like the General Motors name is safe. But, like the market for electric vehicles, its future remains uncertain.