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Top Hispanic Journalists Visit GM Headquarters

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Automaker rolls out red carpet for Latino media

DETROIT--Aug. 22, 2013: General Motors welcomed a select group of journalists from some of the nation's top Latino news outlets for the first GM Hispanic Media Immersion Summit.

A dozen Hispanic reporters and media representatives gathered in Detroit Aug. 15-17 to meet some of the individuals behind the company's customer-driven culture, part of a 2 1-2-day program designed to expose them to GM's global and regional priorities.

"Hispanic journalists play a critical role in how our company is perceived," said Grace Lieblein, GM vice president Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, and the summit's executive sponsor. "We want them to get to know the new GM and give them the information they need about our company, our products, and our focus on Latinos."

Hispanics buy one out of every four cars sold in the United States today. According to RL Polk & Co., auto sales to Hispanic consumers increased 27 percent in 2012, effectively doubling the growth rate of the rest of the U.S. auto market. With this in mind, GM has been increasing its outreach to Hispanics with a portfolio of vehicles that responds to their needs and active lifestyles.

The GM Diversity Communications team with Gloria Tostado as communications manager – Hispanic Market, developed a program that provided a 360-degree view of the company. GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson welcomed the guests via video, and, in addition to Lieblein, the following GM executives spoke to the group and engaged in Q&A:

Jocelyn K. Allen, director Regional, Grassroots and Diversity Communications Kenneth J. Barrett, chief diversity officer Craig Bierley, Global Advertising director, Cadillac Selim Bingol, senior vice president, Global Communications and Public Policy Alma L. Crossley, director of Diversity Initiatives Paul Edwards, executive director Marketing Strategy Ron McCants, director of Dealer Development Karen Nicklin, manager, Educational Initiatives, GM Foundation Joe C. Ponce, executive director Global Operations Quality Mark Reuss, executive vice president and president GM North America Maria Rohrer, director of Marketing, Chevrolet

Participating journalists, who came from New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Houston, visited the GM Heritage Center, where one of the world's most significant collection of cars and trucks reflects the historical accomplishments upon which the maker of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac cars and trucks is building its future.

The group also toured GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant, the 3.6 million-square-foot manufacturing center where the 2014 Chevrolet Impala and the extended-range electric Chevrolet Volt are produced. The guests also drove several 2014 models.

The guests represented a mix of Hispanic media:

Jaime Florez, host, Ruedas ESPN Deportes Radio Al Vazquez, editor and publisher Automotive, FAMA Magazine Francisco Cortes, director, Fox News Latino Jesus Chavarria, editor and publisher, Hispanic Business Maria Ballesteros-Coronel, national content editor, La Opinion Robert Bard, president & CEO, Latina Style Magazine David Quinones, assistant managing editor, PODER Magazine Jaime Gabaldoni, Terra USA Ligia De Uriarte, host, UNIVISION Network Maria Morales Salazar, producer/editor, UNIVISION Chicago Carlos Zapata, news anchor, UNIVISION / Azteca America Southwest Florida

"As part of a very special group of colleagues from different media outlets, we were able to express our doubts and concerns, and even some ideas on how to improve our relationship that, after our meetings last week, is now better than ever," said Florez, host of Ruedas ESPN, an automotive show that airs on ESPN Deportes Radio.

Said Maria Ballesteros-Coronel, national content editor for La Opinion, who traveled from Los Angeles for the summit: "I had the opportunity to meet the people and the talent behind the company - from assembly line workers to those in senior leadership. For us journalists, it is important to understand GM beyond the quarterly sales results."

The program offered a unique immersion for the media into the company's priorities.

"Attracting and retaining Hispanics, promoting supplier diversity, and developing minority dealers are all aspects of our long-term business strategy," said Chief Diversity Officer Ken Barrett. "Today, Latinos are driving our population growth, propelling our economy and buying our cars."

The program concluded with the group viewing the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, the world's largest one-day automotive event which draws 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars each year from around the globe.