GM stays silent over changes at top

* Last-minute substitute at LA motor show * No answers on ousted GM boss * Rumours of split with board...

GM stays silent over changes at top

This week's sudden ousting of General Motor's (GM) boss, Fritz Henderson, forced a last-minute substitute to give the opening address at the Los Angeles motor show.

GM's sales and marketing chief, Bob Lutz, stood in for his former chief executive, who was fired a few days ago. Henderson had been scheduled to give the keynote speech to the media.

A hastily pasted patch on the billboard outside the hall where the speech took place, replacing Henderson's name with that of Lutz, illustrated the sudden and unexpected nature of the changes at the top of GM.

No comment on Henderson
Lutz made it clear that he would not be taking questions on the changes. He said: 'I'll show you that I can be incredibly talented at not answering your questions.'

It is believed Henderson was ousted because of policy disagreements with other GM executives, particularly in relation to the sale of its European offshoots.

GM has since decided to keep two of them, Vauxhall and Opel, after Henderson had already negotiated a sale.

Healthy outlook for GM
Lutz said: 'We are going to keep the focus on product, and specifically on the electrification of vehicles.'

He said a slimmed-down GM now has 'a better foundation for success than anyone could have imagined this time last year'. The GM stand at the 2008 LA motor show was unmanned.

'We still have a long, long way to go,' Lutz went on, 'but in anything like a normal market we would now be profitable, and we will start to repay our loans from the US Government sooner than expected.'