1982 -1999, Globalization, One Company, One Team

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As the word "yuppie" entered the dictionary and the world watched the Berlin Wall come down in the 1980s, GM continued to intensify its focus on innovation and global expansion. 1982 marked the largest expansion of production beyond North America, with the opening of the new Zaragoza complex in Spain. Zaragoza immediately began building a new generation Opel Corsa, the smallest and most fuel-efficient car built anywhere by the company up to that time.

The 1980s and 1990s also saw such technological milestones as the Sunraycer solar-powered car; the Hybrid III crash-test dummy, adopted by governments across Europe and North America as the standard for impact restraint compliance testing; anti-lock brakes and traction control; and OnStar, the industry’s first in-vehicle hands-free vehicle communication system.

With the Saab and HUMMER brands joining the family and new markets emerging in Asia, a series of regional reorganizations brought the family together as a single global team rather than the operationally separate business units spread across several regions that had defined GM for most of the 20th century.

In 1995, annual vehicle sales outside North America exceeded three million units for the first time (compared to five million in the U.S.). Also in 1995, the company entered into a joint venture agreement with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) in China, laying the foundation for unprecedented growth over the next few years. Four years later, the Buick Regal was being assembled in China for the Chinese market and Buick was on its way to becoming the most popular car brand in China.

The GM team was poised to enter a new decade that would bring more international growth and more technological change and innovation than any other in its history.

Additional Information:

In 1996, General Motors of Japan saw its highest sales in Japan with 40,000 units sold.

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