Will the new GM escape the curse of the old?

Will the new GM escape the curse of the old? http://tinyurl.com/m36cu8
There have been two main theories of why things went so wrong at General Motors. One is that the company is run by a bunch of ingrown retreads
with no sense of where the automotive business was headed. The other is that the company's management has been so burdened by commitments (to pensions, to retiree health care, to union work rules) made back when the company was gigantic and dominant that it hasn't had time to focus on where the automotive business was headed.
Now we get to find out which explanation was right. GM management will still be heavy on the ingrown retreads. CEO Fritz Henderson is a GM lifer. Bob Lutz, at 77, is back again—in part because, Henderson said at a press conference this morning, "this is the best way to keep Bob from recycling to a fresh set of OEMs." (At least, I think that's what he said. Can anybody tell me what language he was speaking?) And new chairman Ed Whitacre is, while not ingrown, certainly a retread. He's the man who successfully reassembled a good chunk of the old AT&T monopoly. Just the kind of next-generation leader we need. Later, on a conference call with reporters, somebody asked Henderson about the lack of new blood. "As we fill out the key slots, you're gonna see some unusual names in these jobs," he replied. Another reporter wanted to know if that meant unconventional internal promotions, or people from outside. "The former," Henderson said. "I'm not closed to outside blood, but until we know how we pay people we can't hire anybody." Fair enough.
Meanwhile, the burden of past commitments has been lifted, at least partially. GM entered Chapter 11 with what the WSJ says were "$176 billion in liabilities to retirees, warranties and a legion of lenders including the U.S. government." It leaves bankruptcy today with about $48 billion in debts. That still sounds like a lot, given that the new GM is a smaller company with a smaller revenue stream. But when I asked Henderson about it, his response was that fixed obligations (as opposed to accounts payable and such), consisted just of $10.5 billion in debt, $9 billion in preferred shares, and some as-yet-undetermined pension fund contributions that will be due in 2013 or 2014. "I think in terms of the balance sheet it is a world apart from what it was," he said. "The level of indebtness for the company is not excessive."
I've generally leaned toward the too-many-liabilities explanation for GM's troubles, mainly because the company's successes overseas—especially in China—indicated that its managers, however ingrown they might be, were reasonably smart and capable. It's just that in the U.S. their No. 1 priority had to be keeping sales volumes high enough to keep the debt payments and retiree health care flowing, a focus that didn't really lend itself to reinvention or innovation. Now that burden, and excuse, is mostly gone. So I'm betting that GM will now start looking like a much better-run company. The question is whether it's too late.
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Is the "new" GM, ostensibly owned by the government and taxpayers, paying any attention to the legions of Americans who will boycott GM vehicles because of the bailout? I realize that a boycott would actually make matters worse for taxpayers in the long run, but I've spoken with a lot of people who have been forming opiniions based on anger and emotion, rather than logic, for the past 12-15 months. I hope someone factored in the stain this company's brand now wears when they were calculating the cost/benefit analysis of saving GM. tramposo24 July 10, 2009 at 1:09 pm Log in to Reply *
I do not buy GM, but this is not due to some misguided sense of government waste (bailout), rather it is coz GM make really crap cars. If GM made a car that got 40 mpg, and did not have to undergo the costly repairs that their cars need, I will bet you anything that they would have to top selling car in the world. In essence, to say that there are legions of Americans who will not buy GM because of the bailout is an argument void of any logic. kija1 July 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm
And frankly (I hope GM is listening), I'm a little disappointed that GM execs have been so quick to employ the "let's get past this" stance. The body is still warm, the remains (old GM debt) still being buried, they next of kin (fired GM employees and investors) still in mourning, and they're asking us to turn our backs and move on. Come on guys - have some heart. tramposo24 July 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm Log in to Reply
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On Sat, 11 Jul 2009 10:02:55 -0600, Canuck57 fired up the etcha-a-sketch and scratched out:

Funny.
For a guy who lives in a country that almost became the 14th state prior to 1783, and who's economy is pegged entirely to ours, you seem to wish very much ill will on us.
Either STFU or start saying something positive, eh!
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Your friend "Canuck" was born in the USA.
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I'm adding to myself here, but why do some American's believe the world could not exist without them? You do realize the USA is only a country, just like the other's right? I know a lot of American's, and fortunately none of them act like you. You may be just trying to rile up "Canuck", but you don't need to insult another country to do it.
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On Sat, 11 Jul 2009 23:02:42 -0400, 80 Knight fired up the etcha-a-sketch and scratched out:

Canada is another country?
When did that happen? j/k
Seriously, I am the last one to be xenophobic american.
It is just annoying when a troll such as he/she/it (assuming it isn't a bot) keeps harping the same message.
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I understand that too, but like I said in another post, "Canuck" was actually born in the USA, but I'm not going to insult the entire country because of that.
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You already know that we are full of ourselves, full of shit. What is not to understand???:>)
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