A woman as the new Chief at GM Follows the market

The news that General Motors named a Mary T. Barra to become the first woman Chief Executive at the revived and invigorated but still vulnerable global automotive empire, was greeted with the usual focus on the gender issue per se.

And while just 5 years ago, GM’s hide-bound male dominated corporate structure would have made this appointment unthinkable, today market pressure more than breaking the glass ceiling is behind this promotion.

Women buy 52 percent of all new cars in America and influencing 85% of sales of family vehicles. Almost three quarters of all women car buyers express dissatisfaction with the experience and the auto industry’s blatantly male oriented culture.

And for good reason… 95% of the country’s 20,000 members of the National Automobile Dealers Association are male. And car sales people tend to be predominantly males (though that has begun to change).

With over three decades at GM Ms. Barra knows the territory well, and her most recent role in the launching the strong small car line-up at Chevrolet — and supervising the redesign of GM’s best sellers — demonstrates an understanding of the growing role of women in the auto market.

This George Polgar of GT Marketing for KYW News Radio.