The Industrial Giant
Once upon a time, GM was the biggest, most successful company in the land. It was an industrial giant envied the world over, with a track record of 100 years and hundreds of millions of cars and trucks cranked out by armies of workers who became the backbone of America’s middle class.
General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson
Newly installed GM CEO Fritz Henderson is on the front lines of the company’s battle to save itself.
Under GM’s bailout plan, survival means cutbacks. At this Kansas City plant, that means layoffs and fewer cars produced... 45 instead of 60 per hour, mandatory time off and praying things don’t get worse.
On the Line
Reggie Wilmore has been on the line at GM for 11 years. “It’s real tough to look guys in the eye and try to console them and let them know it’s gonna be all right when, honestly, you don’t know if it’s gonna be all right."
Will Bankruptcy Save GM?
Bankruptcy may turn out to be the best thing for GM, according to University of Chicago Bankruptcy Specialist Douglas Baird. "General Motors has to wake up to the reality that it only has 20% of the market... too many brands, two many suppliers, too many dealers and it has too large a workforce."
The Ripple Effect
GM's crisis is also a crisis for the companies that supply parts to the automaker. Seaway Bolt & Specials, a family-owned Ohio business with 75 employees, is wrestling with Detroit's downturn by cutting back on production and jobs. Nationwide, the livelihoods of more than 2 million workers depend on selling parts to the Big Three automakers.
Jobs in Jeopardy
For 10 years Steve Perrine has operated machinery that cuts up thick cables at Seaway. His wife Donna used to work at the end of the line, boxing up products for shipment. Donna was recently laid off with 11 other workers. Steve says the automakers knew there were problems 15 years ago and wonders, “Why didn't the executives take the bull by the horns and help fix things then?”
Top Quality Cars
GM executives say the company has already solved its biggest problem: the quality gap between its cars and those from Japan and Germany. GM’s Bob Lutz says the company’s cars are as good as Toyotas and the quality gap only remains “in the public awareness … in reality, it's gone.”
A Greener Future
GM's bid for a greener future includes the revolutionary electric car the Chevy Volt. It's an enormous gamble that could pay off big -- or become a commercial disaster. GM executive Bob Lutz: “ The criticality of the Volt may go well beyond GM. I think it is the first step in the electrification of the automobile.”
A Star is Reborn
GM hopes to make history - again. The Chevy Camaro, a classic muscle car born in the 60's, is back, and NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was the first to take the wheel. The Camaro debuts in 2010. It's a critical redesign for a company badly in need of hits.
Reborn: The New Cadillac
The latest incarnation of the Cadillac is the new CTSV. “I think it's the return to greatness for Cadillac, “ says GM executive Bob Lutz. But the question remains: when will consumers have the credit and confidence to buy them? GM's next five years could very much be in doubt … bailout or not.
Find out more...
- Replay Slide Show
- Visit "Saving GM: Inside the Crisis" website for more information.