General Motors is in the midst of a highly visible project that will reinvent the brand, or provide more evidence that, "GM is a sleeping giant," as a former CEO of Toyota said. The Chevrolet Volt is an electric plug-in hybrid that was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show in 2007. Bob Lutz, the design champion of the Prowler, Viper, Ford Explorer, BMW 3 series, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky, and others, is the brains and the brawn behind the project. This car is cool. Forty miles on a charge from that outlet in your garage, and then, if necessary, a small combustion engine kicks in to recharge the batteries on the road. Top speed of around 120 mph, 0 to 60 scores in at a respectable, albeit quiet, 8.5 seconds. The reclamation of the GM brand as an innovator and leader in automotive technology rests on their ability to meet two publicized goals: First, it has to meet the November 2010 launch goal. Secondly, GM must meet its stated intention of selling this vehicle at a price of $30,000.00. Toyota has said it will have a similar plug-in hybrid available for public sale by that November date. The race is on! As a former GM employee and current stockholder, I am of the opinion that GM cannot afford to lose this one. To win, GM has to reinvent its management and business model. I question whether this new aggressiveness can survive in a culture bloated with bureaucracy and powerful internal departmental silos. Already, they are hedging on the $30K target, though milestones seem to be on schedule for the launch date. Here are some things I would suggest, and I really want to hear from you all on what you think they might do.
To General Motors:
That's a few things that cross my mind. What do you think? We're rooting for the home team here in Michigan. This is a WOW! Project for the big three.
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