New GM is now majority owned by the U.S. government. Automaker has shed most of its debt and trimmed its cost to a competitive level. But it still must deliver desirable products to the marketplace.
General Motors has exited bankruptcy and is now re-born under a new name.
The new company has been officially named General Motors Co., as opposed to the previous, century-old General Motors Corp.. Yes, they simply changed "Corporation" to "Company" in the name.
GM emerged from its purgatorial bankruptcy after a remarkably quick 40 days. It "sold" most of its healthy assets, namely the four brands which are slated to survive (Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac), in a bankruptcy-court approved deal to its new ownership, which includes the U.S. and Canadian governments, the UAW and bondholders who held its unsecured debt. The rest of the company will be sold-off, such as the Saturn and Hummer brands, or simply liquidated.
The majority stake in the new General Motors Co. is now held by the U.S. Treasury at 60.8 percent.
But GM is going to have to do more than change its name and rely on government funding for operating capital in order to survive and become a viable car company. It needs to offer competitive products in the marketplace.
For that, the company has held onto legendary automotive executive Bob Lutz, who has canceled his plans for retirement and will now be the new GM's marketing chief. He will be responsible for reversing the slippage in GM sales, which have fallen by 40 percent over the first 6 months of the year (compared to 2008).
The company will also be shedding about 4,000 white-collar jobs and streamline its executive ranks by eliminating several positions in an effort to change the corporate culture of the notoriously ossified GM leadership. GM will also set up a website that allows the public to provide feedback to its CEO Fritz Henderson. The website will be called "Tell Fritz".
Well, to start with, good luck, Fritz.