Things are starting to come together nicely and the new General Motors is now ready to get going. They say they now have a new corporate structure, a stronger balance sheet, and a renewed commitment to make the customer the center of everything the new GM does. We hope so! Long Live GM.
DETROIT – The new General Motors Company began operations today with a new corporate structure, a stronger balance sheet, and a renewed commitment to make the customer the center of everything the new GM does.
Created from the old GM’s strongest operations in an asset sale approved by the bankruptcy court on July 5, the new GM is built on:
* Four core brands in the U.S. and the largest, strongest dealer network in the country,
* A fresh lineup of Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC cars, trucks and crossovers, each with leading-edge designs and technologies that matter to both consumers and the environment,
* 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 winning culture focused on customers and products.
“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.”
Committed to great cars and trucks
The new General Motors launches with a clear and simple vision – to design, build and sell the best vehicles in the world.
Despite the recent downturn, GM has maintained its cadence of strong new products. In the U.S., for example, the Chevy Camaro has surged past its rivals to lead its segment, while the new Chevy Equinox, Cadillac SRX, and Buick LaCrosse are earning strong initial reviews. Later this year, the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon and GMC Terrain debut, followed next year by the Chevy Volt, Chevy Cruze and Cadillac CTS Coupe.
This emphasis on great new products is also reflected in the Chevy Agile now launching in Latin America, in the Chevy Cruze and Buick Excelle in Asia Pacific, and in the new Opel Astra in Europe.
Just last month, GM announced its intention to build a new small car at a plant in Orion Township, Michigan, which will add to GM’s growing portfolio of fuel-efficient cars and restore approximately 1,400 jobs.
GM also has moved aggressively to develop a full range of energy-saving technologies, including advanced internal combustion engines, biofuels, fuel cells, and hybrids. The company is also a leader in the development of extended-range electric vehicles, with its first model, the Chevy Volt, currently undergoing road testing and scheduled to launch in 2010. The new GM is also taking steps to make advanced battery development a core competency, and expects to make additional announcements on this matter late this summer.
Stronger brands and dealers
As part of its reinvention, the new GM has also focused its resources on four core brands and a stronger, more effective dealer network.
General Motors’ core brands – Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC – will have a total of just 34 U.S. nameplates by 2010. This emphasis on fewer, better entries will enable the new GM to put more resources into each nameplate, resulting in better products and stronger marketing.
In May, the company accelerated its dealer consolidation efforts, with the goal of reducing the number of GM dealers in the U.S. from 6,000 this spring to approximately 3,600 by the end of next year. Even so, GM will still have the largest dealer network in the U.S. and GM dealers have committed to continue to improve the total customer experience for GM customers.
A pledge to regain trust and confidence
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. Specifically, common stock will be owned by:
* U.S. Department of the Treasury: 60.8 percent
* UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust: 17.5 percent
* Canada and Ontario governments: 11.7 percent
* The old GM: 10 percent
Stronger balance sheet
General Motors Company launches with a strong balance sheet, a competitive cost structure, and a strong cash position, enabling it to compete more effectively with both its U.S. and foreign-based competitors here in the U.S., and to continue its strong presence in growing global markets.
The new company acquired old GM’s strongest operations and will have a competitive operating cost structure, partly as a result of recent agreements with the United Auto Workers (UAW) and Canadian Auto Workers (CAW).
In the U.S., the new GM will be a far leaner company. By the end of 2010, the company will operate 34 assembly, powertrain, and stamping plants, 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, creating a company sized to respond quickly to changes in the market, while still retaining the global scope necessary to develop world-class products and technologies.
The new GM will begin with a much stronger balance sheet, including U.S. debt of approximately $11 billion, which excludes preferred stock of $9 billion, and could change under fresh-start accounting. In total, obligations have been reduced by more than $40 billion, representing mostly unsecured debt and the VEBA trust fund that provides medical benefits to UAW retirees. The stronger balance sheet and lower break-even point will allow the new GM to reduce its risk, operate profitably at much lower volume levels, and reinvest in the business in the key areas of advanced technology and product development.
GM’s subsidiaries outside the United States were acquired by the new company and are expected to continue to operate normally without any interruption.
A new way of doing business
With the launch of the new General Motors, company leaders will work to change the culture of the company, making the speed and decisiveness that GM demonstrated over the past several months the new way of doing business, and adding an intensified focus on the customer.
More direct communications
Henderson also announced initiatives to open more direct communications between customers and GM employees at every level. “Beginning next week, we will launch a ‘Tell Fritz’ website where customers, or anyone else, can share ideas, concerns, and suggestions directly with senior management. I will personally review and respond to some of these communications every day.”