二十八年之后，通用汽车在重组风波中浴火重生。2009年，通用汽车申请破产，后经美国财政部（the U.S. Treasury）援救，进行了资产重组。多个享有盛誉的品牌如庞蒂亚克(Pontiac)、土星(Saturn)、悍马(Hummer)和萨博(Saab)相继宣布关闭并出售其资产，在美国本土，唯有凯迪拉克(Cadillac)、雪佛兰(Chevrolet)、别克(Buick)和通用汽车公司GMC幸免于难。在这种情况下，通用汽车被迫关闭了十二家工厂，裁掉2万多名员工。最糟糕的是，通用汽车还从全球头号汽车制造商的宝座上跌落，已经滑落到谷底的士气遭受毁灭性的打击。而今，通用汽车已然卷土重来，此刻的通用汽车急需一位富有灵感和激情的营销领袖，最好他还能具备“旁观者”的眼光。
迄今为止，伊万尼克的举措可谓相当大胆。他已决定将雪佛兰的广告业务转给旧金山的广告公司古德拜•希尔福斯坦（Goodby, Silverstein & Partners），而雪佛兰销量占通用汽车美国市场总销量的70%。要知道，底特律的坎贝尔•爱华德公司（Campbell Ewald）为雪佛兰操持广告业务已有91年之久，这一变动震撼了整个广告界。（通用汽车全球广告费用估计可达30亿美元。）
A conversation with Joel Ewanick, General Motors' chief marketing officer for the past ten months, doesn't proceed for long without his mention of "swim lanes."
Ewanick isn't talking about exercise, but his primary task at a resurgent GM (GM). In the 51-year-old executive's view, his mission is to clearly define the company's varying brands, taking particular care that, in consumers' minds, they do not collide with one another -- like swimmers separated by lane markers. "We have to develop policies and procedures to this never happens again," he says. "We want to prevent a repeat of the Fortune cover."
Ewanick is referring to the August 22, 1983 cover of Fortune magazine (above, right) which has haunted generations of GM executives. It featured four maroon sedans, each from a different GM brand but built on the same engineering platform. All looked identical. The cars' similarities spoke to consumers' confusion: how could potential buyers differentiate brands if they couldn't tell individual models apart? The cover epitomized the company's mismanagement and the extent to which legendary GM chairman Alfred Sloan's maxim -- a car for every purse and purpose -- had been forgotten.
Twenty-eight years later, GM is emerging from another agonizing reorganization. The automaker went bankrupt in 2009 and was rescued and recapitalized by the U.S. Treasury. Storied brands Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab were shuttered or sold, leaving only Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC alive in the U.S. GM was forced to close a dozen facilities and cut more than 20,000 jobs. Perhaps worst of all, GM found itself knocked from its perch as No. 1 automaker worldwide, a devastating blow to already plummeting moral. Now that GM has managed to claw its way back to the top spot, it desperately needs an inspirational marketing leader with an outsider's perspective.
Enter Ewanick. The hiply-dressed Californian from the San Fernando Valley worked for Porsche, Hyundai and, briefly, Nissan (NSANY) before being recruited by GM President Mark Reuss in mid-2010 to run U.S. marketing. A few months later, GM expanded his portfolio, making him its global chief marketing officer. (In addition to familiar American brands, he is also responsible for the international Holden, Opel and Vauxhall marks.)
So far, he hasn't eschewed bold moves. He decided to move advertising responsibility for Chevy, which accounts for some 70% of GM's U.S. sales, to the San Francisco-based agency of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Because Detroit-based Campbell Ewald had supervised the account for 91 years, the moved rocked the advertising world. (GM's global ad expenditure is estimated at a massive $3 billion.)