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CHRISSIE THOMPSON

GM finally reaches out to its dealer reps

Chrissie Thompson covers General Motors for Automotive News
The old General Motors had a reputation for having too many meetings. Turns out there was at least one big exception.

GM's staff of field representatives hadn't convened in Detroit in a decade until the 1,000-person dealer-relations team gathered here last month.

The meeting included a trip to the Tech Center in nearby Warren. That's a pilgrimage most of the field staff had never made -- unacceptable to GM's car-guy-turned-North-American-president.

"We were still selling a lot of cars, but we were not one company," Mark Reuss told two of us in a recent interview.

Another rarity for GM, Reuss said, was his decision to ask California field reps for their input on a plan to turn around GM's performance in Los Angeles in the next two years.

An hour later, Reuss got an e-mail: "'Wow. Do you think we could really do this?' We've got good people, but no one's asked them," he said.

Now that Reuss is asking, let's see how good those GMers really are.

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