The core points of the new GM plan were released in an announcement this morning, with more details to follow shortly in a media call with CEO Fritz Henderson. Central to the new GM manifesto is an openness to customer input, a new buying structure that allows eBay-like purchasing, including 'but it now' pricing, and a focus on continuing to turn out new products that are their own best argument for buying GM.
"Customers will be able to bid on actual vehicles just like they do in an eBay auction, including the option of choosing a predetermined 'buy it now' price," Henderson said of the as-yet-unannounced plan to partner with eBay for sales.
GM's transformation into its newer, lighter self isn't yet complete, however. Downsizing will continue through 2011 at least, with a reduction of 13 plants to just 34 in operation by the end of 2010, and a cut in U.S. jobs from the 91,000 GM had at the end of 2008 to around 64,000 by the end of 2009.
Opening more communications channels, including direct employee interaction with customers, is also a core element of GM's plan to help bridge the 'perception gap' between its products and what people think when they hear the GM name. Fritz Henderson will lead the charge, launching his own blog and ramping up use of social media tools like Twitter.
"In August, we'll begin regular visits with customers, dealers, suppliers, employees and others - in the U.S. and abroad - who impact our relationships with customers. We'll be listening to their ideas, and acting on the ones that will improve our ability to serve our customers better," said Henderson. "And of course, other executives and I will continue to reach out to customers through our ongoing web and Twitter chats."
Stay tuned for more details and information as the re-launch of GM unfolds.