New GM: More Responsive To Customers

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
GM Presdent outlines what the new company will look like.

FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2008 file photo, the General Motors logo is seen outside the GM headquarters in downtown Detroit. General Motors Corp. has agreed to take on responsibility for future product liability claims, according to documents filed in federal bankruptcy court in New York on Friday June 26, 2009. The new company will now assume responsibility for future claims involving vehicles made by the old company. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

The new General Motors will be far faster and more responsive to customers than the old one, and it will make money and repay government loans faster than required, CEO Fritz Henderson said Friday as the company emerged from bankruptcy protection.

Henderson said the automaker completed its 40-day stay under court supervision far faster than anyone thought it could, saying it would repay about $50 billion in government loans ahead of a 2015 deadline.

He told reporters the company now will focus more on customers, including a partnership with the online auctioneer eBay for people to buy vehicles by auction online.

The new GM will build more cars and trucks that consumers want and launch them faster than in the past, the CEO said.

"We recognize that we've been given a rare second chance at GM, and we are very grateful for that. And we appreciate the fact that we now have the tools to get the job done," he said.

He announced that the company's management ranks will be cut by 35 percent, or 450 executives, including the elimination of its North American president position. Henderson said he will take responsibility for North American operations.

Henderson also said the automaker was launching a "Tell Fritz" Web site to allow owners and the public to share their concerns with senior management and he planned to go out on the road every month. GM also planned to test a partnership with eBay that could "revolutionize" how people buy cars online, he said.

"We need to listen to the questions, ideas and the concerns of the people who matter the most," Henderson said.

The new company will focus on three top priorities, customers, cars and culture, Henderson said.

"If we don't get this right, nothing else is going to work," he said during a morning news conference at GM's Downtown Detroit headquarters. "Business as usual is over at General Motors."

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