The Detroit automaker's desperate bid to stave off bankruptcy is the latest chapter in a steady slide that began more than 20 years ago.
In the face of faster-to-market competitors gaining momentum, Chairman Roger Smith creates three centralized organizations - Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac, Chevrolet-Pontiac-Canada, and Truck & Bus - to manage large cars, small cars and light trucks, respectively. The two car organizations end up with responsibility for cars of all sizes, but they share almost no processes, and the new separate entities require huge increases in personnel. Quality suffers, and GM's market share drops to 37% in 1987 from 43% in 1985. By October 2008, it had slipped to 22%.
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