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GM Going Green And Very Lean

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The Scottish poet Robert Burns once said, "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry." Why bother planning then? Well, as Congress made abundantly clear during the Big 3 bailout talks last fall, you have to have some kind of plan in place before you can expect any help. (Unless, of course, you're part of the banking industry.)

True to its word, GM came up with a plan, and now it's time for the company to move forward with the details. Along with the restructuring of management and other minutiae, GM indicated that it would streamline production and divest itself of underperforming brands. After taking a good, hard look in the mirror, it appears the company has come to some decisions.

Of the eight major brands in the GM family, the company plans to keep four: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC. There's also a glimmer of hope for Pontiac, but Hummer and Saab are already on the block. (As of yet, no one's expressed serious interest in the former's chunky, gas-guzzlers or the latter's 20-year record of losing cash.) And Saturn.... Well, GM's Troy Clarke recently said that the company has "entered into a very, very open and candid dialogue with our Saturn retailers" and that the brand "just hasn't been a good business for us." What does that sound like to you?

--Richard Read


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