Amidst tons of debt, the worst sales figures in 25 years, and tens of thousands of layoffs, a new General Motors is emerging and according to CEO Fritz Henderson, the name may be the only similarity between the old company and the new.
The new GM was “born” this morning in a New York press conference, and Detroit Free Press reports that Henderson outlined some major changes right out of the gate. 77-year old Bob Lutz, once retired, is now stepping back into the company fold as Vice Chairman in charge of global design, advertising and communications. Henderson is also laying off 34% of the executive management (approximately 450 executives), and disbanding the Automobile Strategy Board where the company had made most major decisions on new automobiles. Henderson himself will take charge of North American operations.
CBS News is reporting that up to 14,000 hourly workers will also be let go and 2,300 of the manufacturer’s 6,000 dealerships may close.
On the positive side, Henderson says the company will focus on customers, cars and, culture, launching a “Tell fritz” website to allow the public to share their concerns with senior management, and monthly road trips to “listen to the questions, ideas and concerns of the people who matter most.”: The company is also in the preliminary stages of a possible partnership with eBay to test selling vehicles via on-line auction.
GM is sill in the middle of selling off Hummer, Saab and Saturn. However the new GM will be responsible for any Lemon Law and breach of warranty claims that arise from these vehicles in the years they were part of the GM family.