You read that right! After a multi-billion dollar government bailout and lighting fast bankruptcy proceedings, the largest U.S. automaker has returned to the public market.
It’s hard to believe that it has been almost two years since the collapse of Government General Motors, but it has been quite an interesting turn of events from a business perspective. Even though GM has had access to special federal and state resources that no other business could ever dream of, the company has managed to make great strides in their turnaround efforts. These changes are reflected in their new product roll-outs, increased efficiency, and gains in market share – despite shedding four of their brands (Saturn, Pontiac, Saab, and Hummer). But, one can only wonder if these changes are merely skin deep.
General Motors didn’t go bankrupt because they offered poor products or lacked the ability to make quality products. Instead, General Motors failed because of a bloated corporate culture that was resistant to change, bureaucratic in nature, and lackadaisical with their business decisions. This culture resulted in decades of uncompetitive offerings, eight indistinguishable brands, and poor product quality which ultimately led to their debt-laden down fall.
The new GM, under the U.S. government’s guidance, has replaced some of their highest management and executive officers for this reason. Don’t get me wrong, they have some great talent at the helm; however, it will take more than a few personnel swaps to change a corporate culture that has been evolving over the last few decades. Dumping four brands and re-invigorating their remaining four with new products is definitely a step in the right direction, but it will take some serious soul searching on General Motors’ part to prevent themselves from repeating the past. The market seems to think their is new life in GM, but I will reserve my final judgments on this chapter of their story until meaningful changes and improvements can be seen.