GM North America President Mark Reuss

Since it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, General Motors has been spending a goodly amount of effort trying to prove that the "New GM" does things differently than the company that squandered over 15 points of market share in the past two decades. Its latest gambit is linking salaried employee bonuses, in part, to customer loyalty. While we tend to cast a skeptical eye on such proclamations – whether they come from GM or any other automaker – we're intrigued by what seems like a legitimate effort by GM North American President Mark Reuss to truly remake the automaker into a customer-focused company.

According to Automotive News, Reuss has ended the longstanding practice of each GM fiefdom having its own internal goals, with the overall success of the organization rendered irrelevant. As Reuss told AN, "Everybody had their own metrics, which somehow were all green. But, weirdly, when we added it up, it was pretty red."

All of GM's 29,000 salaried North American employees, including both sales and marketing and design and engineering staff, will be covered by the new policy, which rewards employees with year-end bonuses only if goals for quality and customer retention are met. The customer focus was added this year, with the quality goals having been set in 2011, according to the report.

AN says the biggest change the policy will have on GM's corporate culture may come at the dealership level. Where, in the past, GM's sales managers were known to push cars down the pipeline, essentially strong-arming dealers to take cars they didn't want, that practice has ended, according to the report.