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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 20:05 GMT
Struggling GM ready for a fight
Guto Harri
By Guto Harri
BBC North America business correspondent in Detroit

General Motors chairman Rick Wagoner
Rick Wagoner faces the music at the Detroit Motor Show
You wouldn't think General Motors (GM) was in trouble from looking at its stand here in Detroit.

It covers as much ground as a rugby pitch and is crowded with shiny new vehicles.

The company has been the top carmaker in the world for 74 years and it clearly wants to stay there.

But its dominance is being challenged by Toyota, and if the Japanese company meets its sales targets this year it will overtake the American giant.

Rick Wagoner, chairman of GM, is under pressure - but he won't countenance that possibility.

"I am losing zero sleep over this," he tells me after an aggressive press conference which unveiled a new pricing strategy.

$2000 price cuts

The cost of 80% of GM models will be cut from Wednesday, some by more than $2000 (1,130).

Ed Peper, general manager of the Chevrolet brand, denies it's a desperate move.

"We think it's going to stir the market up and it's probably the most aggressive move taken by a manufacturer for quite some time," he said.

Analysts point out that GM is desperate.

It's cutting jobs and closing factories, but in the glitzy surroundings of this motor show it's doing its best to conceal those problems.

Its banner proclaims an American revolution.

The buzzwords of its press conference are bold, big, powerful and confident.

The new advertising campaign will be very similar in its loud and colourful style.

Not everyone found it convincing, but it is obvious to those attending the show that GM is not giving in to the severe pressures upon it without a fight.


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