In order to help companies coping with the impact of COVID-19 and to prepare for the future or the ‘new normal’ as it gets referred to, RoadSafetyUAE reached out to a range of Top Executives in our eco-system for their views.

We sincerely want to thank the participating companies and their Top Executives for sharing their valuable views!

COVID-19 4x Q's + 4x A's MiX Telematics - General Motors LI Format

John Roth
President and Managing Director, General Motors, Africa and Middle East

Q: In what ways has your business been impacted by COVID-19?
A: At General Motors Africa and Middle East, we have always held safety as our overriding priority and this continues throughout the Coronavirus outbreak. The standards by which we operate provide the basis for our commitments to those with whom we interact: our employees, customers, partners and the wider community.

Taking quick and proactive measures to ensure everyone’s safety while remaining fully operational, we acted fast in the initial stages of the pandemic to limit interactions across our GM AMEO headquarters and GM training center by turning to virtual tools and eventually converting our full workforce to work from home in line with government guidance.

On a global level, our teams and GM partners came together very quickly in face of the pandemic to leverage their expertise, resources and supply chain capabilities to help in the shared fight against COVID-19 by producing facemasks and ventilators. Some of the knowledge acquired was also shared locally where needed.

In addition to using our production facilities, we have been able to utilize our future mobility solutions to help support communities in times of crisis and social distancing. GM’s Cruise in San Francisco has begun utilizing their fully autonomous vehicles to provide safe contactless food delivery in the area since mid-April.

Regionally, we have been heavily supporting the government’s directives to stay home and stay safe through messaging via our Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac social pages, encouraging audiences across the region to stay home and play their part in curbing the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

We have also rolled out a number of initiatives to support our community, ensuring we are providing services that will offer customers peace of mind during these challenging times while they align with government directives to stay home. Our first step was to extend warranty and our 24/7 roadside assistance to July 31 2020 giving additional peace of mind to our Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC customers.

In close collaboration with our trusted dealer network, we have been offering door-to-door services. Following strict safety measures from the moment they collect a customer’s car from home, all vehicles will be professionally sanitized before being returned while the technicians carrying out the service are screened and equipped with gloves and masks at all times. We have also been sharing tips with the community on how to maintain and clean their cars at home to make sure they are in prime condition when it’s time to return to roads.

Aligning with government efforts around the region, we are also working with various entities to support their efforts within the more vulnerable segments of the population, which have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. In the UAE for example, we are working with the Social Solidarity Fund as we prepare to provide them with vehicles from our GM fleet to help them distribute food and medical supplies to those in need.

From a financial perspective, we have prepared for times like these by maintaining a strong financial position over the years and we are confident that we will be able to navigate the challenges created by this environment, working closely with our teams and partners.

We will continue to monitor the situation as we work closely with our suppliers and the relevant government entities to adhere to their instructions, taking every safety precaution needed, and managing any potential business delays. We continue to put people at the heart of our business and prioritize their needs, now more than ever, throughout these unprecedented times.

Q: Where do you see your business in 12 months’ time?
A: In any industry as dynamic as mobility, there will always be challenges however despite various market headwinds we have seen our General Motors business move from strength to strength in the region.

Backed by an incredible team of experts across the region along with a robust dealer network, the GM family is primed to adapt and continue catering to changing market settings as we keep our customers at the center of everything we do. Our continuous commitment to safety, which spans both pre and during COVID-19 times, will live on after as well as we continue to grow based on more than anticipating customers’ needs, but genuinely understanding the importance every journey our vehicles might go on.

A major milestone for us this year will be the regional launch of our pioneering in-vehicle safety and security technology, OnStar, as we couple our incredible products across our Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet portfolios with even more built-in technological innovation than ever before.

A seamless end-to-end service, OnStar offers a range of services to members from Automatic Crash Response, Emergency Services, Roadside Assistance to Connected Navigation, On-Demand Diagnostics and Remote Key Lock and Unlock, helping all drivers and owners feel more connected & protected on the road. With a team trained to support car occupants around the clock, OnStar offers drivers confidence that someone will always be there to help, no matter the situation.

Adding another service that is focused on the safety and security of our customers demonstrates our ongoing commitment to our vision of Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions and Zero Congestion, a vision we remain focused on, even during these difficult times.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, our core strategy to provide excellent customer experience will remain the same while we continue to monitor the situation and evolve our business accordingly.

Q: What are the major changes (internal & external) you foresee for the ‘new normal’ post COVID-19? In which ways will you adjust your business?
A: Externally, we are already increasing our digital and e-commerce offering in the region, as we understand that vehicles are an integral part of our customers’ life and livelihood. This will remain our focus for the near future.

We were the first manufacturer in the region to introduce an online shopping tool with Shop.Click.Drive, which allowed customers to browse, book test drives and even purchase their vehicle from the comfort of their own home. Taking this a step further, we have now partnered with Emirates NBD integrating financing options online for our Chevrolet and GMC vehicles, offering a seamless, complete digital experience. Our teams are currently working to activate Shop.Click.Drive for Cadillac too, which we expect to roll out in the coming months.

During self-isolation and lockdown periods, all online communications – from social media and our website to Shop.Click.Drive – are ensuring that we remain connected to our customers, providing them with safe options to continue experiencing our line-up. Shop.Click.Drive will remain a useful tool for customers, ensuring a seamless, one-on-one shopping experience, whether online or in-person.

We have been in the region for the past 90 years, and we aim to be here for the next 90. We see the exemplary leadership in the region, epitomized by the management of the Coronavirus pandemic, and know that if we keep customers at the heart of all we do, we will be leaders in those 90 years to come.