Amid record losses, plunging sales, a stock that has sunk as low as its 1950 price, and awkward merger talks, the 100-year old carmaker is hoping that its new Chevy, due in 2010, can reenergize its image and its bottom line. Volt design director Bob Boniface says his team wanted to make sure the car looked better than other electric-car concepts (judge for yourself). Most electrics "are like automotive brussels sprouts," he says. "They're good for you, but you don't want to eat them." The question is whether GM can wait two years for a hit—and whether the Volt will offer enough beyond green hype to win over consumers.
A version of this article appeared in the December/January 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.