Autoextremist's now-infamous rant last week, got us thinking about GM's public relations problem. Sweet Peet D. wrote that GM's poor perception in the press and among many consumers is the effect of the company's (i.e., CEO Rick Wagoner's) hatred of the media. Being relatively geek-bred, we honed in on one particular element of that perception, that is the company's image — or glaring lack thereof — as an innovator. Take, for example, the company's TechWorld conference taking place this week. Better yet, don't. You're not allowed in.
GM has issued a clampdown so tight, not even the hot air emanating from suppliers' sales booths could reach atmosphere. Among the press, only the AP is being granted access, and the stories that are coming out have focused on gee-wiz consumer hew-haws like fingerprint-activated ignitions and instant-on heating systems. Granted, an open-source company GM is not — work product (even the theoretical kind) is held tighter than Bob Lutz's flightsuit. But think about it. If GM blew this event out, inviting more than just its own employees, and transforming it into a literal agora of automotive technology, the company could be on its way toward being perceived as the post-1990s IBM of the car world. Whether it is or not, of course, is another matter.
Picture this: No car keys in the future [WFAA (Texas)]
GM Preparing to 'Pull Trigger' on Hydrogen Cars [internal]