After Rick Wagoner added “Burnt Offering” to his resume earlier this month, there’s been some might big questions as to just how GM is going to reinvent itself to avoid bankruptcy. Now, we have an answer – and it is damn silly looking. Gizmodo has promo footage up here.

GM is teaming with Segway on the PUMA, which is basically a two seater Segway, except that it looks like a giant, futuristic Faberge egg with a goofball sitting inside of it. The Puma has a bit of pickup behind it, topping out at about 35 mph, the mileage numbers are mightily impressive, and it seems like it’d be great for urban traffic. Of course, the same can be said about a bicycle as PFSK points out.

But is betting on a vehicle that is seemingly geared towards urban environments, where people tend to need cars less, a game-changing notion? Is getting on board with a company whose most notable achievement thus far is prominently featured on the gag reel of contemporary innovation a recipe for success? Engadget seems optimistic after a test drive, calling the prototype “already twice as interesting as Segway,” but one has to wonder if GM and Segway can a) promote this thing effectively and b) get it to market at a reasonable price. Frankly, being twice as good as the Segway isn’t going to be good enough. 

The videos have a lot of cute going for them, but I have some pretty grave concerns about the safety of something that looks this fragile and travels 35 mph on busy city streets. The thing looks like it could get totalled by a strong wind, and I don’t think most Americans are in any hurry to drive a vehicle that makes a Vespa look both sturdy and serious by comparison.

Of course, the PUMA doesn’t have to change the world all on it’s lonesome, and GM probably isn’t putting all of it’s chips  on this project. But one has to assume that at this point, teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and holding on only by the thread of an increasingly impatient American public, GM is putting everything it’s got on the table.

And if this is everything it’s got, the vultures might be circling a little closer than they were yesterday.

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