GM tries to get back into the fast lane

As "cash for clunkers" provides a much-needed boost to Detroit, General Motors is trying to craft a strategy that will enable it to maintain its position as America's best-selling brand. Sporting a new board of directors, only six of whom were on the "Old GM" board, the company is simultaneously trimming fat and trying to extend its brand.

However, GM's current approach could make its goal of remaining number one a bit harder to reach. As the automaker streamlines itself, it is dropping its Pontiac, Hummer, Saturn and Saab brands, which collectively account for three percent of the US car market. Given that GM's 18.9 percent July market share put it only narrowly ahead of Toyota's 17.5 percent share and Ford's 16.5 percent share, the missing three percent could easily push it into the number two -- or even the number three -- spot.