It's not a done deal yet, but GM is reportedly considering a change from its traditional blue logo to a green one that shows consumers it is lean, green, quick-thinking and focused on fuel efficiency. A word of advice for GM: this is a bad idea.
The company is leaner, yes, but only at the expense of over 6,000 jobs. That will certainly lead to cultural changes like increased accountability and reduced bureaucracy, but GM has yet to prove its green credibility enough to warrant a logo change.
The plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, hailed as the beginning of GM's rebirth, has been plagued with price bloating and rumors that it won't be released on time in 2010. Earlier this year, the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry warned that GM is at least a generation behind Toyota on "green" powertrain development and that "while the $40,000 Chevy Volt holds promise, it is currently projected to be much more expensive than its gasoline-fueled peers and will likely need substantial reductions in manufacturing cost in order to become commercially viable."
The Volt won't be the last word from GM on efficient cars--the company is planning to launch 14 hybrid models by 2012 as well as a plug-in SUV in 2011. But these are just plans, and few things are certain with a company that is working on a massive reorganization in the face of bankruptcy.
So GM has some big aspirations. Changing a familiar logo from blue to green will do little to erase the memory of the company as an auto titan that helped bring down the whole industry. And GM's focus on green is practically forced--almost every major and niche auto company is racing to put out as many hybrids and PHEVs as possible. It certainly doesn't deserve any special recognition for foresight. As long as the public remembers the sordid backstory behind GM's rebranding, few will see it as anything more than greenwashing.