GM's Winter of Much Content

January 8, 2008

Looking out from the executive suites at General Motors headquarters, on the Detroit River, you get an expansive view of grey, gloomy Winter. Or so notes Alex Taylor III, a senior editor at Fortune magazine. Yet, he adds, things seem to be warming up at the vast silver cigar tubes collectively known as the Renaissance Center. Why?

Well, for the first time in years, there are definitely some good things on GM’s horizon. There’s the new contract with the United Auto Workers Union, which will allow two-tier wages, for the first time, and offload the company’s massive health care burden to a trust run by the UAW. All told, the contract, Taylor reports, could yield $4 billion in annual savings, by 2010.

Then there are the new products, such as the all-new Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac CTS. The latter recently was named Motor Trend Car of the Year, while both models are up for honors when the winner in the North American Car of the Year competition is announced, next Sunday.

All good? Not necessarily, GM CEO Rick Wagoner acknowledges, in the article. “We have some fairly severe headwinds,” says the 54-year-old executive, pointing to the economy, commodity, steel and energy prices.

But if nothing else, the article underscores the way strong media headwinds have turned in the General’s favor. Two years ago, it seemed as if GM couldn’t do anything right. Suddenly, it’s the automotive poster child for a turnaround.

For Taylor’s story, click here.

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