DETROIT - With a goal to "make each and every General Motors car, truck, and crossover the best-in-class" and reinforce its customer focus, the new General Motors Company officially began operations July 10. The sale of substantially all of General Motors Corporation's assets to NGMCO, Inc., approved July 5 by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, was finalized July 9.

"Today we launch the new General Motors, and our promise is simple. We will be profitable, we will repay our loans as soon as possible, and our cars and trucks will be among the best in the world," said President and CEO Fritz Henderson, in a statement released by the automaker. "We recognize that we've been given a rare second chance at GM, and we are very grateful for that."

Henderson will continue as president and chief executive officer, working closely with Chairman of the Board Edward Whitacre, Jr., and will also take responsibility for GM's operations in North America, eliminating the GM North America president position.

"One thing we have learned from the last 100 days is that GM can move quickly and decisively," said Henderson. "Today, we take the intensity, decisiveness, and speed of the past several months and transfer it from the triage of the bankruptcy process to the creation and operation of a new General Motors."

Created from the old GM's strongest operations, the new GM is built on:

  • A fresh lineup of Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC cars, trucks, and crossovers, for a total of just 34 U.S. nameplates by 2010.
  • A competitive cost structure, a cleaner balance sheet, and a stronger liquidity position that will enable GM to invest in new products, key technologies, and its future.
  • A culture focused on customers and products.

The automaker will debut its latest products, the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon and GMC Terrain, later this year, followed next year by the Chevy Volt, Chevy Cruze, and Cadillac CTS Coupe.

General Motors Company is primarily owned by the governments of the United States, Canada and Ontario, and by a trust fund providing medical benefits to UAW retirees. GM's subsidiaries outside the United States were acquired by the new company and are expected to continue to operate normally without any interruption.

By the end of 2010, the company will operate 34 assembly, powertrain, and stamping plants in the U.S., down from 47 in 2008, and capacity utilization is expected to reach 100 percent during 2011. Overall U.S. employment will decline from about 91,000 at the end of 2008 to about 64,000 at the end of this year, according to the company.

The launch of the new GM also brings about other changes:

Decisionmaking. A single, smaller executive committee will replace the two senior leadership forums that make up the Automotive Strategy Board and Automotive Product Board.

Appointments. GM has "unretire[d]" Bob Lutz, who has agreed to join the new GM as vice chairman responsible for all creative elements of products and customer relationships. Lutz and Tom Stephens, vice chairman, product development, will work together as a team, partnering with Ed Welburn, vice president of design, to guide all creative aspects of design. GM's brands, marketing, advertising, and communications will report to Lutz for consistent messaging and results. He will report to Henderson, and be part of the newly formed executive committee.

Operating structure. Elimination of regional president positions and regional strategy boards. Nick Reilly will be named executive vice president of GM International Operations (GMIO), based in Shanghai.

Downsizing. Reduction of U.S. executives by 35 percent by the end of 2009.

Improved communications. Launch of a "Tell Fritz" Web site where customers, employees, and anyone else, can share ideas, concerns, and suggestions directly with senior management. Henderson said he will "personally review and respond to some of these communications every day."

Increased interaction. Beginning in August, Henderson and other General Motors leaders will go on the road regularly to meet with consumers and others with a stake in the new GM.


Originally posted on Automotive Fleet