The message from General Motors chairman and CEO was clear and direct: The company has no plans to cut anymore of its brands. I asked Rick Wagoner about cutting the brands when I caught up with him after a speech here in Dallas.
Given that we haven't heard directly from Wagoner since reports start circulating on Monday that GM is mulling more cuts, his comments today are important.
When I asked him if GM planned to cut any more brands (HUMMER is already under review for sale) Wagoner said, "We don't have plans to eliminate any more brands. We did take actions on HUMMER because of what I think had been a pretty dramatic change in the circumstances. Our focus on all of our brands is what can we do to make them more profitable. What can we do to take advantage of the products we have., and in some cases, how do we want to evolve the product portfolio into the current world.. But no plans to eliminate more brands."
Pretty straight forward. So what does it mean?
My gut says in the next couple weeks GM will announce it's streamlining its portfolio for the various brands. Instead of offering duplicate models (Enclave, Acadia, Traverse) so that every brand has every type of vehicle, GM will get tough and focus models in a tighter niche per brand. We could also hear about more jobs and shifts being cut at GM plants around the country.
All of this comes as GM shares hit a new 54 year low in the mid-afternoon. The idea that GM could go bankrupt continues to weigh on this stock, even though Wagoner told me liquidity is not an issue and that sales have held up despite the bankruptcy talk out on the street.
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