For all the financial wizardry, and the $50 billion in federal aid, that helped pull General Motors through bankruptcy, the company’s long-term success could come down to one word, “Chevrolet.”
You can’t cost-cut your way to prosperity, GM CEO Fritz Henderson made quite clear during a meeting with a handful of reporters, including TheDetroitBureau.com. “Fantastic products” that can win back buyers “will drive everything,” the CEO stressed repeatedly.
As it filed for Chapter 11 protection, on June 1st, the troubled automaker held a market share of just over 20%. But that included all eight North American divisions, four of which — Hummer, Saab, Saturn and Pontiac — will either be dropped or sold off. Yet the automaker’s reorganization plan projects it will be able to maintain a share of somewhere between 18 and 18.5%, numbers that have raised concerns among many industry observers.
Henderson defended that optimistic forecast, noting that Hummer and Saab have contributed little to GM’s overall volume, in recent years, though the demise of Saturn will have a modest but measurable impact on the automaker’s sales. And as for Pontiac, a major portion of its sales went to daily rental and other fleets, “and we feel with our other brands we have the possibility of picking up a large portion” of that volume.