The Competition: Zero Is A Gm Hero

General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner is a pretty laid-back guy. But after Ford and Chrysler execs kept carping that GM was driving Detroit off a cliff with its zero percent financing deals, he decided he'd had enough. Defending the discounts at a conference last winter, Wagoner barked: "It's time to stop whining and just play the game."

The problem for Ford and Chrysler is that the zero-sum game is proving deadly. GM is peddling the best deals in town--steep discounts averaging $4,370 per car--and hot models like the Hummer H2 and the Cadillac CTS. Because it's Detroit's low-cost producer, GM earns profits in a price war--and builds market share--as Ford and Chrysler lose ground and money.

While Chrysler takes the high road, Ford is heading down the dirt road with a new F-150 pickup. It will be followed by a parade of new models, like an edgy Mustang and $150,000 GT racer. But if the pickup doesn't sell, nothing else matters.

GM doesn't have a "bet the company" model coming. But it is rolling out a string of new models like the SSR pickup and a baby Hummer H3. Wagoner is relishing the chance to atone for the sins of his forefathers. "For us, market share is everything," he told NEWSWEEK. "It's the symbolism of 30 years of inadequacy and poor performance. So we've got to get it turned around." Anyone in his way had better watch out.

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The Competition: Zero Is A Gm Hero | News