Exclusive-New leader of GM’s Cruise acknowledges ‘all-time low’ amid safety review

By Greg Bensinger

(Reuters) – General Motors’ Cruise autonomous vehicle unit has hit an “all time low,” said its new leader, while promising to restore trust with regulators and the public after the company pulled all of its vehicles from U.S. roads.

“Our integrity, our competency are being questioned and this really hurts,” said Mo Elshenawy at an all-staff meeting Tuesday, according to a transcript of the call reviewed by Reuters. “We went from an all-time high to an all-time low and from being an industry leader to temporary pausing all of our operations,” he said.

A spokesperson for Cruise declined comment.

Elshenawy was installed as Cruise president last month after its CEO stepped down following regulatory scrutiny after an October accident in which a San Francisco woman was dragged.

Cruise has been under growing pressure after regulators said it failed to fully disclose details of the October accident. Last month, Cruise paused all driverless and supervised car trips in the United States and expanded a safety review of its robotaxis and CEO Kyle Vogt and chief product officer Daniel Kan both stepped down.

Elshenawy seemed to acknowledge a difficult path ahead for the self-driving car company that competes with Alphabet’s Waymo and Amazon.com’s Zoox. “We don’t have a deep reservoir of trust with all of our stakeholders and our regulators,” he said.

“This last week a Cruiser shared with me that they don’t wear their Cruise jacket in public anymore,” said Elshenawy. “It truly breaks my heart.”

(Reporting by Greg Bensinger; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)