Hummer may be sold. Saab has lost its identity. Will both brands go the way of Lotus, the performance car maker General Motors sold in the 1990s?
The seizure of power by GM's outside directors in 1992 and their ouster of a generation of top leaders appeared to be validated during the next several years by the company's improved performance. The link between the board coup and the improved results was the new president and CEO, Jack Smith.
In 1999, General Motors said it planned to buy dealerships and form its own retail operation, GM Retail Holdings. The proposal didn't get far. Dealers successfully lobbied state lawmakers for greater protection against perceived factory competition.
The conventional wisdom is that General Motors bought its 20 percent share of Fiat Auto in 2000 to head off DaimlerChrysler, which was stalking Fiat. But that's only partially true, says GM executive Larry Burns, who managed GM's alliance relationships. GM also was motivated by a hitch in its global deal-making strategy elsewhere in the world.
In 2005 and 2006, General Motors needed cash. It was time to sell assets. GM was like a sports franchise selling off players to rivals. Some of those players had failed to live up to expectations, others still held potential. But any worries about selling them to rivals had to be set aside. What mattered was raising cash.
Dynamic reconfiguration. Sounds like some New Age workout scheme. But Ralph Szygenda says it's the key to the factory of the future. Szygenda, General Motors' chief information officer, says advances in information technology will turn assembly plants into paragons of flexibility, "pretty much producing any vehicle in any plant."
General Motors has produced a lot of world-class powerplants over the years. Here's our list of the 10 greatest engines in GM's history, listed alphabetically.