GM car show hits road

Posted: Feb. 27, 2010

GM car show hits road

BY TIM HIGGINS
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

The trucks left Friday for a 40-factory road
show to bring some of General Motors’ newest
vehicles to the company’s workers across the
country.

It’s part of GM’s effort to give more workers a
chance to test-drive the company’s
cars and
trucks, and possibly lead to new sales for the
automaker.

GM sales were up 14% in January, but the
company is still rebuilding after emerging from
bankruptcy in July.

Vehicles — such as the Chevrolet Equinox
midsize SUV and
Buick LaCrosse sedan
should arrive Monday at the first stops: GM
plants in Arlington, Texas; Shreveport, La.;
Defiance, Ohio, and Tonawanda, N.Y.

The 40 facilities in the U.S. and Canada, which
have approximately 40,000 employees, will get
vehicles to use for a month to allow workers to
test-drive. The tour is slated to end in
December.

Some workers could get a chance to take a
vehicle home for the night while others might
take it for a spin around the block. Company
officials also expect that the vehicles could be
used in local community events.

Wendy Stachowicz, GM vehicle advocate program
manager, said each facility is being given the
flexibility to come up with its own programs on
how the vehicles will be used.

Over the past nine months, GM has put greater
emphasis on getting non-management
employees in its vehicles.
 
"They are great spokespeople for the company,"
Stachowicz said.

The program is an extension of a test-drive
program launched last summer after GM filed for
bankruptcy.

As part of efforts to improve the company’s
imagine with its own workers, Stachowicz began
setting up test-drives of
new vehicles at various
GM offices around southeast Michigan.

Between June and December last year, the
company held 38 ride-and-drive events for
workers, allowing 4,000 employees to try out
the vehicles.

The company also has begun allowing non-
management employees at the Renaissance
Center to test-drive vehicles overnight.

"The excitement is there. Everyone is really
interested in getting in them and (taking) them
out into the world and really (being) advocates
for our company," she said.
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