Friday, November 18, 2011

GM Head: Public is Past Anger Over Bailout

Seriously, he said this:
The American public has gotten past its animosity toward General Motors for taking a government bailout in 2009, the company's top executive said Thursday.

Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said a poll taken last summer for GM by Washington public opinion firm Peter Hart Research Associates shows that more than 70 percent of Americans have a positive opinion of the company. When the same poll was taken in July of 2009, more than 70 percent had a negative opinion, Akerson said.

"I think America loves a competitor. I think General Motors, Chevrolet in particular, is part of Americana," Akerson said during an appearance at the Detroit Economic Club.

In 2009, GM, saddled with high debt and expensive labor costs, needed $49.5 billion in government loans to survive a trip through bankruptcy court. The U.S. government got a stake in the restructured company, part of which was sold in an initial public stock offering about one year ago on Nov. 18, 2010.

The government's remaining 500 million shares would have to sell for around $53 per share for the U.S. to break even. Such a sale probably won't come anytime soon. GM shares are trading around one-third less than the $33 IPO price. The summer before the IPO, then-GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre said government ownership was hurting the company's sales.

Whitacre said GM didn't want to be known as "Government Motors." But Akerson said on Thursday that the new GM is now making money and has passed that stage.
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