The new General Motors exiting bankruptcy today is:
1) Leaner and getting ever more so. Another 6,000 jobs to go. 35% of current execs will go. They've already shed Opel and Pontiac, and that list of defunct or sold brands will grow.
2) Really publicly-owned now. The U.S. government now owns over 60 % of the company. The United Auto Workers have another one-eighth of GM. The government has said it will not be involved in day-to-day operations of the company.
3) Directed by a new board of directors.
4) Sold at a smaller number of dealerships. Over 2/5 of those are losing GM. There's also talk of selling more cars online, though eBay denies they have a GM dealership. And there'll be websites where we customers part-owners can register our comments.
Lots of talk about cars customers want. We all know that is shifting and never static. When times are tough or gas prices steep, we want efficiency. If another bubble comes along and every MBA and lawyer is making six figure bonuses, the little efficient two-seater becomes declasse.
Chevy Volt. Courtesy GM.
But GM promises it will launch its plug-in Volt next year. What does the new CEO say about the car? "Lifeblood of our future."
GM's been down the electric road before. There was the ill-fated EV-1 built to suit a California air pollution standard in the last century. GM stopped making those as soon as the California ruling was rescinded in response to auto industry lobbying. The ones on the road were recalled and demolished. Will the Volt now allow the new, lean GM to catch up with the Japanese auto makers and their hybrids?