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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

GM revives summer auto show, seeks renewed pride in brand

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GM revives summer auto show, seeks renewed pride in brand

BY GREG GARDNER

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

For Tom Hipple, showing off his 1968 Chevy Chevelle helped dim the harrowing memories of last summer when many co-workers left, his own job was at risk and tomorrow was less certain than today.

"We've got some good product out there now," Hipple said. "We're as good as or better than the imports."

After 18 months of seismic change that spanned bankruptcy, three CEOs, the churning of marketing leaders and advertising agencies, GM workers dusted off their Corvettes, GTOs and Camaros. Nearly 700 classic cars -- mostly GM models -- were arrayed around GM's Warren Tech Center in the renewal of a summer ritual that GM suspended last year.

A tall red-headed guy with a ball cap exhorted them to get in touch with their inner grease monkeys. "They don't write songs about washing machines and Apple computers," said Tom Stephens, GM's vice chairman of global product operations. "We're trying to get that pride and passion back into the organization."

Next month, GM is expected to report a profitable second quarter. That could accelerate a stock offering enabling the government to start reducing its stake in the automaker.

Government aid, reduced health care costs and less debt have helped the automaker in its post-bankruptcy recovery. But Stephens credits fewer PowerPoint slides, shorter meetings and quicker decisions.

"I try to get myself out of the building and in the seat of a car as often as possible," he said.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100729/BUSINESS01/7290402/1331/GM-revives-summer-auto-show-seeks-renewed-pride-in-brand

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