Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2003 (Revised August 2005)

Reinventing the Automobile: General Motors' AUTOnomy Project

by Alan D. MacCormack and Kerry Herman


Describes the history of General Motor's attempts to develop a hydrogen fuel-cell powered car. As of 2003, GM developed several prototypes of such a vehicle to demonstrate the viability of the overall concept. Many uncertainties remained, however, with respect to the issues of cost, safe storage of hydrogen on a vehicle, and the lack of a hydrogen-refueling infrastructure. Aids students in developing a strategy for pushing this initiative forward, including tackling the question of how radical the new design should be and what to do about competitors who have aggressively pushed interim technology-hybrid vehicles--which GM has chosen not to emphasize in its product portfolio. Includes color exhibits.

Keywords: Problems and Challenges; Management; Technology; Transition; Competency and Skills; Disruptive Innovation; Machinery and Machining; Auto Industry;


MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Reinventing the Automobile: General Motors' AUTOnomy Project." Harvard Business School Case 604-064, November 2003. (Revised August 2005.)