But GM doesn't have much choice. CEO Rick Wagoner has declared that the consumer shift away from big trucks is permanent, and his product plans reflect that.
Over the next year and a half, GM says it will introduce 19 new vehicles, 18 of which are either cars or crossovers. The first one to come will be the Chevrolet Traverse crossover next month.
In 2011, Chevrolet will add a minicar, and GM is considering small cars for its Saab, Cadillac and Saturn brands.
The highest-profile car in GM's future is the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid that will debut in 2010. But this compact sedan will carry a hefty price tag approaching $40,000, so it may be fated to remain a small-volume niche vehicle.
In his conference call with reporters and analysts last week, company CFO Ray Young said he is confident GM can stabilize its cash flow. In June, GM disclosed plans to close four truck plants by 2010, and reduce annual truck production capacity by 500,000 units.
All these cost-cutting moves will conserve precious cash. But Young added: "Ultimately we're going to have to grow the business."
While the market for full-sized pickup market will rebound, it will never return to its former glory, says Jim Hall, a former GM employee and managing director of 2953 Analytics, a consulting firm in suburban Detroit.
Hall and Cole say GM can survive, provided the economy doesn't crumble between now and 2010. Says Cole: "If we don't have a recovery in the next year or so, then we're really in trouble."