If you love technology, get ready for an exciting ride, General Motors’ chief executive Mary Barra told me last night.

She was speaking at a gala dinner for local dignitaries, dealers and hacks, on her first big trip to Europe in the GM hot seat, timed for the introduction of the all-important Vauxhall Astra, and could not disguise her enthusiasm for the on-rush of technology.

The automotive world's highest-ranking female executive, who trained as an electrical engineer, Barra told a rapt audience that she believed there would be four key ways in which cars would change quickly in future: in the sophistication and efficiency of their powerplants, the way they were owned and shared, the way they are connected with other aspects of our lives, and the way we drive them.

Nobody could have a complete vision of how things would pan out, she said, but she was entirely undaunted because she believed that following its upheaval in the later 2000s, GM has once again assembled world-beating technical teams, not least in Europe where Opel Vauxhall was “critically important to GM”.

Speaking crisply and quickly with a fluent delivery, Barra spoke of her commitment to building GM into “the most valued automobile company in the business".