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GM, Chrysler take differing paths

Bruce Nunnally

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Nearly six months after exiting bankruptcy, Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co. present a clear contrast.

Chrysler has a charismatic leader, Sergio Marchionne, who laid out an ambitious and detailed plan to recapture lost glory, profits and market share. But sales remain in free fall. Redesigned vehicles are months, even years, away.

Meanwhile, GM Chairman Ed Whitacre jettisoned Chief Executive Fritz Henderson and took the CEO title last week, triggering new anxiety among employees who have endured substantial turmoil.

But GM is stabilizing its U.S. market share, even as it takes Saturn, Pontiac, Saab and Hummer out of its lineup. New products such as the Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac SRX are selling well.

"I'd take GM's situation in a heartbeat," said IHS Global Insight analyst John Wolkonowicz. "GM has a cold. Chrysler has pneumonia."

In the end, success might be a matter of which leader delivers the appropriate medicine.

Believers and skeptics of General Motors' and Chrysler's government-backed rescues generally agree: Both companies are better off today than they were a year ago.

Read More: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi...0,3714796.story


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