Kudos to CNBC’s Andrew Sorkin for carrying out a real interview here. He asked General Motors CEO Mary Barra the hard questions – primarily about Tesla – though she avoided answering them at all costs.
Sorkin took it a step further by repeatedly pressing Barra to at least so much as acknowledge Tesla's lead, success, etc., but she held strong and refused to offer Tesla even the slightest bit of credit.
To be clear, Barra stuck with the narrative from President Biden that GM is and has been the EV leader, and it won't concede to anyone. We published a few articles related to Barra's comments, as well as Tesla CEO Elon Musk's responses, though there's a whole lot more now that the entire interview has been published on YouTube.
We'll say up front that you really need to watch the entire interview. Honestly, parts of it almost come off like an SNL comedy skit. Sorkin seems almost irritated that he can't get Barra to answer his questions, and she eventually tells him she'd rather talk about GM than Tesla.
That said, let's take a look at a few of the most interesting morsels from Barra's talk about GM's electric future. Sorkin asks Barra about the potential EV credit that may be coming as part of Biden's Build Back Better legislation. More specifically, he talks about the "union-only" bonus.
After Barra gives a response that doesn't really answer his questions, Sorkin notes that Tesla employees make more than GM employees on average. She says she would need the numbers in front of her.
Sorkin goes on to ask Barra if she knows why Tesla wasn't invited to any of the Biden Administration's meetings about EVs. Of course, many of us have a pretty good idea about why Tesla wasn't invited, but Barra says she didn't make the guest list. After much pressing, she refuses to even acknowledge that the whole situation is at least a bit strange. She goes on to say she doesn't really give it any thought.
It makes perfect sense that Barry wouldn't want to dwell on Tesla, the world leader in EVs. This is especially true as GM struggles, has no current EVs on the market, and won't be selling any EVs in high volume any time soon.
However, the fact that she won't at least acknowledge Sorkin's follow-up questions and give credit where credit is due, it's just a bad look. We asked ourselves, how might this interview have played out if Sorkin was asking the same questions to Jim Farley or Herbert Diess?