Automotive History Outtake: 1966 GM Automotive Corporate Organizational Charts

GM org structure 1966

In the Toronado post the other day, CC reader/contributor Roger628 left a link to a two-part 1966 GM Engineering Journal that discusses the whole evolution, development, engineering and production of the 1966 Toronado. It’s quit a read, and some of it needs to be taken with a grain of salt, like the decision to use drum brakes was arrived at testing various systems including discs at the front and rear. And supposedly drum brakes gave the best overall performance. They left out the key word “cost” ahead of “performance.

Anyway, the two journals give quite a good description of how the various corporate divisions and divisional groups function in the process of the creations and production of a new car. And there were these two organizational charts, which gives a graphic idea of the challenge facing management in keeping it all functioning reasonably smoothly, in light of the inevitable politics. This is the corporate chart, but only as it relates to automotive and defense divisions. There were of course a number of other ones too, like EMD (locomotives) and Frigidaire, among others.

GM org division 1966click image for full size view

And here’s a typical divisional organizational chart, Oldsmobile in this case. It all does give some perspective about the huge organizational challenges CEOs like Roger Smith faced in trying to streamline GM into a more cohesive organization, given that greater centralization was inevitable in light of the increasing technical challenges of regulations, technology, competition from Japan and an ever-shrinking market share.

If you have the time, those GM Journals make for an interesting trip back in time, although there is a fair amount of overlap/repetition in the two: