General Motors Corporation, also known as GM, an American multinational corporation, is consistently the world's largest auto company by production volume, in addition to the largest by sales volume for 76 consecutive years. Founded in 1908, in Flint, Michigan, General Motors employs approximately 284,000 people around the world. With global headquarters at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 different countries. Their European headquarters are based in Zurich, Switzerland. The corporation's Holden headquarters are located in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. In 2006, more than 9 million GM cars and trucks were produced globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, and Vauxhall. GM is the majority shareholder in GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. of South Korea and has had collaborative ventures in technology and manufacturing with several of the world's automakers.
With other leading mass producers of the automobile, General Motors has helped to shape the contemporary world. Motor transportation has revolutionized travel and communications around the globe. It has made the world a smaller place, and given freedom of movement to millions of people. Like all technologies, it has negative aspects as well, such as contributing to environmental pollution. The company has been ranked as the twentieth worst corporate air-polluter in the United States. GM can be criticized for putting profit before utility, in that planned obsolescence is unnecessary and more durable cars could easily be built. Investment in engines designed to use renewable or other more environmentally friendly fuels, too, has been slow, given the tight links between the automobile and oil industries. However, the Company manufactures several hybrid vehicles and is rapidly developing this technology as the market itself become more conscious of the need for change, and innovation.
General Motors (GM) was founded on September 16, 1908, in Flint, Michigan, as a holding company for Buick, then controlled by William C. Durant, and acquired Oldsmobile later that year. The next year, Durant brought in Cadillac, Elmore, Oakland (later known as Pontiac), and several others. In 1909, General Motors acquired the Reliance Motor Truck Company of Owosso, Michigan, and the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company of Pontiac, Michigan, the predecessors of GMC Truck. Durant lost control of GM in 1910, to a bankers' trust, because of the large amount of debt taken on in its acquisitions coupled with a collapse in new vehicle sales. A few years later, Durant would start the Chevrolet Motor car company and through this he secretly purchased a controlling interest in GM. Durant took back control of the company after one of the most dramatic proxy wars in American business history. Shortly after, he again lost control for good, after the new vehicle market collapsed. Alfred Sloan was picked to take charge of the corporation and led it to its post war global dominance. This unprecedented growth of GM would last through the late 1970s and into the early 1980s.
Daewoo is GM's most recent acquisition, having been rescued by the combine shortly after going into receivership towards the end of 2000. The brand has been retained for the home market of South Korea, although since January 2005, the brand's products have been sold as Holdens in Australia and Chevrolets in other markets. Holden is the Australian division of GM while Saab is a prestige marque based in Sweden and sold world-wide. Hummer and Saturn are almost exclusively sold within U.S. and Canada, with both of these brands having being created within the last two decades. The Hummer H3 is now made in South Africa. This car is also now available for sale in Australia. Opel is the key European brand, although high volumes of its products are made in Africa and Asia. Since the early 1980s, Vauxhall has been a Britain-only brand, with virtually all of its models since then being identical to Opels. GM Parts and accessories are sold under GM Performance Parts, GM Goodwrench, and ACDelco brands through GM Service and Parts Operations which supplies GM dealerships and distributors worldwide. GM engines and transmissions are marketed through GM Powertrain. GM's largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany. GM nearly-half owns (49 percent) a finance company, GMAC Financial Services, which offers automotive, residential, and commercial financing and insurance. GM's OnStar subsidiary is a vehicle safety, security, and information service provider.
Current members of the board of directors of General Motors are: Percy Barnevik, Erskine Bowles, John Bryan, Armando Codina, Erroll Davis, George Fisher, Karen Katen, Kent Kresa, Ellen Kullman, Philip Laskawy, Kathryn V. Marinello, Eckhard Pfeiffer, and G. Richard Wagoner Jr., who also serves as Chairman of the board.
General Motors is structured into the following groups:
General Motors was named one of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" in 2004, by Working Mothers magazine. GM has also given millions of dollars in computers to colleges of Engineering through its PACE Awards program. Together with the United Auto Workers, GM created a joint venture dedicated to the quality of life needs of employees in 1985. The UAW-GM Center for Human Resources in Detroit is dedicated to providing GM salaried employees and GM UAW members programs and services related to medical care, diversity issues, education, training, and tuition assistance, as well as programs related to work and family concerns, in addition to the traditional union-employer health and safety partnership.
At one time, each of GM's automotive divisions were targeted to specific market segments and despite some shared components, each distinguished itself from its stablemates with unique styling and technology. The shared components and common corporate management created substantial economies of scale, while the distinctions between the divisions created an orderly upgrade path, with an entry-level buyer starting out with a practical and economical Chevrolet and moving through offerings of the different divisions until the purchase of a Buick or Cadillac.
The postwar automobile industry became enamored with the concept of "planned obsolescence," implemented by both technical and styling innovations with a typical 3-year product cycle. In this cycle, a new basic body shell is introduced and then modified for the next two years with minor styling changes. GM, Ford, and Chrysler competed vigorously in this new restyling environment.
By 1958, the divisional distinctions within GM began to blur with the availability of high-performance engines in Chevrolets and Pontiacs. The introduction of higher trim models such as the Chevrolet Impala and Pontiac Bonneville priced in line with some Oldsmobile and Buick offerings was also confusing to consumers. By the time Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick introduced similarly styled and priced compact models in 1961, the old "step-up" structure between the divisions was nearly over.
The 1960s saw the creation of compact and intermediate classes. The Chevrolet Corvair was a 6-cylinder answer to the Volkswagen Beetle, the Chevy II was created to match Ford's conventional Falcon and the Chevrolet Camaro/Pontiac Firebird was GMs counter measure to the Ford Mustang. Among intermediates, the Oldsmobile Cutlass nameplate became so popular during the 1970s that Oldsmobile applied the Cutlass name to most of its products in the 1980s. By the mid 1960s, most of GM's vehicles were built on a few common platforms and in the 1970s GM began to use nearly identical body panel stampings, differing only in internal and external trim items.
The 1971, Chevrolet Vega was GMs launch into the new subcompact class. Problems associated with its innovative aluminum engines would damage GMs reputation more than perhaps any other vehicle in its history. During the late 1970s, GM would initiate a wave of downsizing starting with the Chevrolet Caprice which was reborn into what was the size of the Chevrolet Chevelle, the Malibu would be the size of the Nova, and the Nova was replaced by the troubled front-wheel drive Citation.
By the 1980s, GM frequently "rebadged" one division's successful vehicle into several models across the divisions, all positioned close to one another in the market place. Thus a new GM model's main competition might be another model spawned off the same platform. This led to market "cannibalization" with the divisions spending time stealing sales from one another. Even today, the company's GMT360 mid-sized light truck platform has spawned the basic Chevrolet Trailblazer, Oldsmobile Bravada, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender, Buick Rainier, and Saab 9-7X. Though each model had a more or less distinct mission, the trucks can hardly be discerned from one another.
In the late 1990s, the U.S. economy was on the rise and GM and Ford gained market share producing enormous profits primarily from the sale of light trucks and sport-utility vehicles. From 2000 to 2001, the Federal Reserve, in a move to quell the stock market, made twelve successive interest rate increases. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, a severe stock market decline caused a pension and benefit fund underfunding crisis. GM began its Keep America Rolling campaign, which boosted sales, and other auto makers were forced to follow suit. The U.S. automakers saw sales increase to leverage costs as gross margins deteriorated. Although retiree health care costs remain a significant issue, General Motors' investment strategy has generated a $17.1 billion surplus in 2007, in its $101 billion U.S pension fund portfolio, a $35 billion reversal from its $17.8 billion of underfunding.
In 2004, GM redirected resources from the development of new sedans to an accelerated refurbishment of their light trucks and SUVs for introduction as 2007 models in early 2006. Shortly after this decision, fuel prices increased by over 50 percent and this, in turn, affected both the trade-in value of used vehicles and the perceived desirability of new offerings in these market segments. The current marketing plan to extensively tout these revised vehicles as offering the best fuel economy in their class (of vehicle). GM claims its hybrid trucks will have gas-mileage improvements of 25 percent.
In the summer of 2005, GM announced that its corporate chrome emblem "Mark of Excellence" will begin appearing on all recently introduced and all-new 2006 model vehicles produced and sold in North America. The move is seen as an attempt by GM to link its name and vehicle brands more closely.
In 2005, GM promoted sales through an employee discount to all buyers. Marketed as the lowest possible price, GM cleared an inventory buildup of 2005 models to make way for its 2006 lineup. While the promotion was a temporary shot in the arm for sales, it did not help the company's bottom line. GM has since changed its marketing strategy to a no haggle sticker policy in which all vehicle prices are lowered, but incentives are reduced, if not eliminated.
General Motors is the best selling auto maker in China. The Buick brand is especially strong, led by the Buick Excelle subcompact. Cadillac initiated sales in China in 2004, starting with imports from the United States. GM pushed the marketing of the Chevrolet brand in China in 2005, as well, moving the former Buick Sail to that marque. The company manufactures most of its China-market vehicles locally, through its Shanghai GM joint venture. Shanghai GM, a joint venture between the Chinese company SAIC and General Motors, was created on March 25, 1997. The Shanghai GM plant was opened December 15, 1998, when the first Chinese-built Buick came off the assembly line. The SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile joint-venture is also successful selling trucks and vans under the Wuling marque. GM plans to create a research facility in Shanghai for $250 million to develop hybrid cars and alternative energy vehicles.
In March 2005, the Government of Canada provided C$200 million in incentives to General Motors for its Ontario plants, and in the fall of 2007, it provided C$100 million to Ford Motor Co. to expand production and provide jobs, according to Jim Harris. Similar incentives were promised to non-North American auto companies like Toyota, Premier Dalton McGuinty said the money the province and Ottawa are pledging for the project is well-spent. His government has committed C$400 million, including the latest Toyota package of C$125 million, to the province's automobile sector, which helped finance $5 billion worth of industry projects. Canada's single payer health care system has helped reduce health care costs for the U.S auto industry.
For the first time in 2004, GM sold more vehicles in other countries than inside the U.S.
On September 24, 2007, General Motors workers represented by the United Auto Workers union went on the first nationwide strike against GM since 1970. The ripple effect of the strike reached into Canada the following day as two car assembly plants and a transmission facility were forced to close. However overnight a tentative agreement was reached and UAW officials declared the end of the strike in a news conference at 4 a.m. on September 26. By the following day, all GM workers in both countries were back to work.
A new labor contract was ratified by UAW members exactly one week after the tentative agreement was reached, passing by a majority 62 percent vote. In the contract are several product and employment guarantees stretching well into the next decade. One of GM's key future products, the Chevy Volt, was promised to the GM Poletown/Detroit-Hamtramack plant in 2010. Also included is a VEBA (Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association) which will transfer retiree health care obligations to the UAW by 2010. This eliminates more than 50 billion dollars from GM's healthcare tab. It will be funded by 30 billion in cash and 1.4 billion in GM stock paid to the UAW over the next 4 years of the contract. It also eliminates 70 percent of the labor cost gap with GM's Japanese rivals.
General Motors has an extensive history in numerous forms of racing. Vehicles of most, if not all, of GM's brands have been represented in competition, with perhaps Chevrolet being the most prominent. In particular, the Chevrolet Corvette has long been popular and successful in international road racing. GM also is a supplier of racing components, such as engines, transmissions, and electronics.
GM's Oldsmobile Aurora engine platform was successful in open-wheel Indy-style racing throughout the 1990s, winning many races in the small V-8 class. An unmodified Aurora V-8 in the Aerotech, captured 47 world records, including the record for speed endurance in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Recently, the Cadillac V-Series has entered motorsports racing. GM has also used many cars in the American racing series NASCAR. Currently the Chevrolet Monte Carlo is the only entry in the series but in the past the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Regal, Oldsmobile Cutlass, Chevrolet Lumina, and Chevrolet Malibu were also used. Starting in March 2007, the Chevrolet Impala will be phased into the series.
In touring cars (mainly in Europe) Vauxhall is a key player and former champion in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) series and competes with a Vauxhall Astra VXR in BTC spec. Opel is one of the three participants in the DTM series (along with Audi and Mercedes Benz) and is a former champion and competes with a unique 500 bhp vehicle that resembles the Opel Vectra. Chevrolet competes with a Lacetti in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC).
In Australia, there is the prestigious V8 Supercar Championship which is battled out by the two main rivals of Holden& Ford. The current Holden Racing Team cars are based on the Holden Commodore and run a 5.0-liter V8-cylinder engine producing 650+BHP (approx 480 kW Power) @ 7500 rpm. These cars have a top speed of 300+km/h (185 mph) and run 0-100 km/h in less than 4 seconds. The Holden Racing Team is Australia's most successful team in Australian Touring Car History. In 2006, both the Teams and Drivers championship was won by the very closely linked Toll HSV Dealer Team.
General Motors is both active in environmental causes and, as a major industrial force, implicated in ecologically harmful activity. The company has long worked on alternative-technology vehicles, and has recently led the industry with clean burning Flexfuel vehicles that can run on either E-85 (ethanol) or gasoline. The company was the first to use turbochargers and was an early proponent of V6 engines in the 1960s, but quickly lost interest as the muscle car race took hold. They demonstrated gas turbine]] vehicles powered by kerosene, an area of interest throughout the industry in the late 1950s, but despite extensive thermal recycling (developed by Chrysler) the fuel consumption was too high and starting torque too low for everyday use. They were also an early licensee of Wankel engine technology, even developing the Chevrolet Monza around the powerplant, but abandoned the alternative engine configuration in view of the 1973 oil crisis. In the 1970s and 1980s, GM pushed the benefits of diesel engines and cylinder deactivation technologies with disastrous results due to poor durability in the Oldsmobile diesels and drivability issues in the Cadillac 4-6-8 variable cylinder engines. In 1987, GM, in conjunction with Aerovironment built the Sunraycer which won the inaugural World Solar Challenge and was a showcase of advanced technology. Much of the technology from Sunraycer found its way into the Impact prototype electric vehicle (also built by Aerovironment and was the predecessor to the EV1.
GM recently opposed the new CAFE standard increase from 27 mpg to 35 mpg, the first such increase in over 20 years, citing it will harm their business. The company’s industrial record has also prompted criticism. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts recently listed General Motors as the 20th largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States, with 12,771,830 pounds of toxic chemicals released annually into the air. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has linked the corporation to 75 Superfund toxic waste sites, ranking General Motors second only to General Electric and the U.S. Federal Government in the number of Superfund sites, for which it is potentially responsible.
On June 30, 2006, a documentary about the demise of the EV1 and other electric vehicles, entitled Who Killed the Electric Car? debuted in theaters across America, sparking criticism of the motivation behind the cancellation of their electric car program.
Consumer advocates, activists, commentators, journalists, and documentary makers claim GM had deliberately sabotaged their company's zero emission electric vehicle efforts through several methods: Failing to market, failing to produce appropriate vehicles, failing to satisfy demand, and using lease-only programs with prohibitions against end of lease purchase.
The process of obtaining the EV1, GM's first electric vehicle, was difficult. The vehicle could not be purchased outright. Instead, General Motors offered a closed-end lease for three years, with no renewal or residual purchase options. The EV1 was only available from specialist Saturn dealerships, and only in California and Arizona. Before reviewing leasing options, a potential lessee would be taken through a "pre-qualification" process in order to learn how the EV1 was different from other vehicles. Next came a waiting list with no scheduled delivery date.
Several weeks before the debut of the movie, the Smithsonian Institution announced that its EV1 display was being permanently removed and the EV1 car put into storage. GM is a major financial contributor to the museum, but both parties denied that this fact contributed to the removal of the display.
General Motors has responded to complaints about the scrapping of the EV1 program and they dispute the existence of any conspiracy surrounding its demise.
GM alleges that during the four years available to the public, only 800 EV1's were released. Over $1 billion was spent on the EV1 program, with a great portion used for consumer incentives and marketing. With a waiting list of 5,000 applicants, only 50 individuals actually were willing to accept a lease on the EV1. Suppliers ceased production of replacement parts due to the low demand for the EV1. This made repairs and continued safety of the vehicles difficult. The EV1 was designed as a developmental vehicle and was never intended for serial production.
The limitations of storage technology and the expense of production would have made the cars impractical for the vast majority of consumers; a production EV1 would have met limited demand and would have been priced out of reach of most. Had sufficient demand existed to justify mass production and had costs and technologies been able to support mass production, GM would have been more receptive to the idea.
General Motors (GM) has responded to allegations made in the film through a blog post entitled, Who Ignored the Facts About the Electric Car? In it, Dave Barthmuss writes: "Sadly, despite the substantial investment of money and the enthusiastic fervor of a relatively small number of EV1 drivers—including the filmmaker—the EV1 proved far from a viable commercial success." Barthmuss notes investments in electric vehicle technology since the EV1: Two-Mode Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicle programs. The filmmakers suggested that GM did not immediately channel its technological progress with the EV1 into these projects, and instead let the technology languish while focusing on more immediately profitable enterprises such as SUVs. Contrary to this suggestion, as Barthmuss points out, GM is bullish on hydrogen:
According to GM, not all of the EV1's were destroyed. Many were donated to research institutions and facilities, along with museums. Some are still owned by General Motors themselves, and are kept at their Technical Design center in Warren, Michigan, and can occasionally be seen on the road within a close area of the tech center.
There is no other major automaker on the road offering a fully electric vehicle designed for everyday use on public transportation routes, however. Think Nordic, at one time under the ownership of Ford, have produced a range of electric vehicles in limited numbers.
In May 2004, GM delivered the world's first full sized hybrid pickups, and introduced a hybrid passenger car. In 2005, the Opel Astra diesel Hybrid concept vehicle was introduced. The 2006 Saturn VUE Green Line was the first hybrid passenger vehicle from GM and is also a mild design. GM has hinted at new hybrid technologies to be employed that will be optimized for higher speeds in freeway driving. Future hybrid vehicles should include the 2007 GMC Yukon, the Saturn Aura, and an updated Saturn VUE based an Opel design, like the Saturn Aura.
GM has recently introduced the concept cars Chevrolet Volt and Opel Flextreme, which are electric vehicles with back-up generators, powered by gasoline, E85, or fuel cells.
GM currently offers two types of hybrid systems. The first used in the Silverado Hybrid, Saturn VUE, Saturn Aura, and Chevrolet Malibu is what GM calls a "Mild Hybrid" or "BAS" system. The second hybrid drive was co-developed with DaimlerChrysler and BMW, is called a "two-mode hybrid." The two-mode is used by the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon and will later be used on the Saturn VUE.
GM’s current hybrid models:
GM Magic Bus is a hybrid powered bus.
GM has prided its research and prototype development of hydrogen powered vehicles, to be produced in early 2010, using a support infrastructure still in a prototype state. The economic feasibility of the technically challenging hydrogen car, and the low-cost production of hydrogen to fuel it, has also been discussed by other automobile manufacturers such as Ford and Chrysler. In June 2007, Larry Burns, vice president of research and development, said he's not yet willing to say exactly when hydrogen vehicles will be mass produced, but he said it should happen before 2020, the year many experts have predicted. He said, "I sure would be disappointed if we weren't there" before 2020.
GM, more than any other automaker, is producing Flexfuel vehicles that can operate on ethanol gasoline, or E85. GM has over 2 million FlexFuel Vehicles on the road today in all 50 states. E85 is a mostly renewable fuel that can be made from U.S.-grown biomass (like corn or grain products) and helps reduce U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum. Although availability is currently limited, U.S.-made E85 is becoming more accessible each day to U.S. consumers.
General Motors announced it would set up a $250 million "The General Motors Center for Advanced Science and Research," an alternative fuel research center, in Shanghai. The construction of the first phase had a scheduled completion date of late 2008.
After gaining market share in the late 1990s, and making enormous profits General Motors stock soared to over $80 a share. However, in 2000, twelve successive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve led to a severe stock market decline following the September 11, 2001 attacks, caused a pension and benefit funds crisis at General Motors and many other American companies. General Motor's rising retiree health care costs and Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) fund deficit prompted the company to enact a broad restructuring plan. Although GM had already taken action to fully fund its pension plan, its OPEB fund became an issue for its corporate bond ratings. GM had expressed its disagreement with the bond ratings; move over, GM's benefit funds were performing at higher than expected rates of return. Then, following a $10.6 billion loss in 2005, GM acted quickly to implement its restructuring plan. For the first quarter of 2006, GM earned $400 million, signaling a turnaround had already begun even though many aspects of the restructuring plan had not yet taken effect. Although retiree health care costs remain a significant issue, General Motors' investment strategy has generated a $17.1 billion surplus in 2007, in its $101 billion U.S pension fund portfolio, a $35 billion reversal from its $17.8 billion of underfunding.
In February 2005, GM successfully bought itself out of a put option with Fiat for $2 billion USD (€1.55 billion). In 2000, GM had sold a 6 percent stake to Fiat in return for a 20 percent share in the Italian automaker. As part of the deal, GM granted Fiat a put option which, if exercised between January 2004 and July 2009, could have forced GM to buy Fiat. GM had agreed to the put option at the time, perhaps to keep it from being acquired by another automaker, such as Daimler AG, competing with GM's Opel and Vauxhall marques. The relationship suffered, and Fiat had failed to improve. In 2003, Fiat recapitalized, reducing GM's stake to 10 percent.
In February 2006, GM slashed its annual dividend from 2.00 to $1.00 per share. The reduction saved $565 million a year.
In March 2006, GM divested 92.36 million shares (reducing their stake from 20 percent to 3 percent) of Japanese manufacturer Suzuki, in order to raise $2.3 billion. GM originally invested in Suzuki in the early 1980s.
On March 23, a private equity consortium including KKR, Goldman Sachs Capital, and Five Mile Capital purchased $8.8 billion, or 78 percent of GMAC, GM's commercial mortgage arm. The new entity, in which GMAC will own a 21 percent stake, will be known as Capmark Financial Group.
On April 3, 2006, GM announced that it would sell 51 percent of GMAC as a whole to a consortium led by Cerberus Capital Management, raising $14 billion over 3 years. Investors also include Citigroup's private equity arm and Aozora Bank of Japan. The group will pay GM $7.4 billion in cash at closing. GM will retain approximately $20 billion in automobile financing worth an estimated $4 billion over three years.
GM sold its 8 percent stake in Isuzu on April 11, 2006, to raise an additional $300 million. 12,600 workers from Delphi, a key supplier to GM, agreed to buyouts and an early retirement plan offered by GM in order to avoid a strike, after a judge agreed to cancel Delphi's union contracts. 5,000 Delphi workers were allowed to flow to GM.
On June 28, 2007, GM agreed to sell its Allison Transmission division to private-equity firms Carlyle Group and Onex for $5.1 billion. The deal will increase GM's liquidity and echoes previous moves to shift its focus towards its core automotive business. The two firms will control seven factories around Indianapolis but GM will retain management of a factory in Baltimore. Former Allison Transmission president Lawrence E. Dewey will be the new CEO of the standalone company.
As GM opens new plants, those scheduled to close under the planned GM restructuring include (source: General Motors Corporation):
|Moraine Assembly (3rd shift)||Ohio||2006||Mid-size SUV assembly||4,165|
|Oklahoma City Assembly||Oklahoma||Early 2006||Mid-size trucks and SUV assembly||2,734|
|Lansing Craft Centre||Michigan||Mid-2006||Chevrolet SSR roadster assembly||398|
|Spring Hill Manufacturing Line 1||Tennessee||March 2007||Saturn ION sedan and coupe assembly||5,776|
|Lansing Metal Center||Michigan||2006||Metal fabricating||1,398|
|Portland Distribution Center||Oregon||2006||Parts distribution||95|
|Saint Louis Distribution Center||Missouri||2006||Parts distribution||182|
|Pittsburgh Metal||Pennsylvania||2007||Metal fabricating||613|
|Ypsilanti Processing Center||Michigan||2007||Parts processing||278|
|Flint North 3800||Michigan||2008||Engines||2,677|
General Motors found itself the focus of a boycott by gay rights groups when the company pulled advertising from the sitcom Ellen in 1997, which it deemed "controversial." The company was not the only one to pull ads; other companies included Wendy's, J.C. Penney, Chrysler, and Johnson & Johnson.
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