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Published 12:00 am Friday, July 10, 2009

Having won the blessing of a federal judge, a new version of General Motors is expected to emerge from bankruptcy with fewer brands, dealerships and debts. Those cost-cutting measures will certainly help the reorganized company; in fact, without them, GM may have been unsalvageable. But they don’t guarantee success either. And unless the company makes even more fundamental changes in the way it does business, it may not be able to halt its sales slide. …— Los Angeles TimesThe downsizing will help GM deliver more car for the money. Another factor in the company’s troubles, however, has been its slow response to changes in consumer demand. Car and truck designs fall in and out of favor like fashions, and the old GM developed a reputation for being the last to embrace a trend. …

The new GM needs to go one step further and follow the example set by the computer industry, which builds platforms that give parts suppliers broad freedom to improve performance. Rather than trying to design cars in-house, GM should position itself to capitalize on innovations outside its walls, whether at an established supplier or an entrepreneurial start-up with a single great idea. That way, the new GM could not only survive but thrive.

                                                                                                                      — The Los Angeles Times