GM tries to win back consumers

LOS ANGELES Just two-weeks after it emerged from bankruptcy, /*GM*/ is trying new ways to win back American consumers and pay back taxpayers.

Earlier this year, many were wondering if Detroit's auto companies would survive their toughest economic challenge in recent memory, particularly /*General Motors*/ and /*Chrysler*/.

Now that both have come through bankruptcy, the question is how they're going to return to profitability. For GM, part of the answer to that is an onslaught of updated products, like the new /*Cadillac SRX*/ crossover.

"25 percent of the vehicles sold in luxury now are crossovers. So it's very important to us and it really will bring in new customers to /*Cadillac*/," said Jim Yurpillat, Cadillac Brand Manager.

The SRX is slightly smaller than the previous version, and is more fuel efficient too, with a base price of $34,155. But it's entering a crowded marketplace. The crossover market is led by Lexus, which was joined this year by new models from Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and others.

"It's very crowded, very new. We think that is somewhat of an advantage. Our vehicle stacks up extremely well. And when people look at the vehicle, consider us and do that, we'll do quite well," said Yurpillat.

Cadillac is one of the brands GM will be keeping around, along with Chevrolet, Buick and GMC. Hummer, Saturn, Saab and Pontiac will not be so lucky.

Part of GM reinventing itself is coming up with new ways of doing just about everything. So they are trying to come up with new products and new ways of marketing them. For example, you can now buy a certified pre-owned GM vehicle via the auction site eBay Motors. The company is also in talks to possibly sell new cars online via the same site.

"If we're going to want to sell cars and trucks at the rate we want to, we're going to have to make it easy for people," said Dave Barthmuss. "We've had great success with the certified used vehicles in that kind of a venue, so let's see how the new cars work."

Just as the Cadillac SRX is a leaner, smaller version of its former self, General Motors is now a leaner, smaller version as well; emerging after a very rough first half of the year.

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