Thursday, November 18, 2010

Not Just Any Startup: General Motors Co.

General Motors Co., the new General Motors, started trading on the stock exchanges today. It’s officially a startup company now. General Motors is not the typical startup — by at least one measure, its initial public offering was the largest ever — but it nevertheless faces most of the same challenges that any startup has to overcome.

The biggest thing General Motors has going for it: it can bypass the one big hurdle of any completely new business. With famous brand names like Chevrolet and GMC, it won’t have to struggle just to get the world’s attention.

Yet General Motors is going to work in a stale industry. These days, people buy cars for the same reason they buy vacuum cleaners and appointment books — because they have to. This tends to favor products that are sleek, competent, and inexpensive. That’s a tall order, and to make it an even bigger challenge, General Motors will have to keep up with any other startup that comes along.