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GM chief says company will make money, repay loans

GM chief says company will make money, repay loans

Posted: Friday, July 10, 2009 9:03 pm
By: AP

By TOM KRISHER
AP Auto Writer
DETROIT (AP) — A leaner General Motors arose today, making an unusually quick exit from bankruptcy with ambitions of making money and building cars people are eager to buy.
Once the world’s largest and most powerful automaker, new GM is now cleansed of massive debt and burdensome contracts that would have sunk it without federal loans. The U.S. government owns a majority stake although the Obama administration says it has no plans to run the automaker.
The new GM also emerges amid the worst sales slump in a quarter-century.
At a news conference, CEO Fritz Henderson said the new GM will be faster and more responsive to customers than the old one and it will make money and repay government loans faster than required.
Henderson said GM completed its 40-day stay under court supervision far faster than anyone thought it could. He said it would repay about $50 billion in government loans ahead of a 2015 deadline.
He said the company now will focus more on customers, including a partnership with eBay to test auctioning vehicles online.
The new GM will also build more cars and trucks that consumers want and launch them faster than in the past, the CEO said.
“We recognize that we’ve been given a rare second chance at GM, and we are very grateful for that. And we appreciate the fact that we now have the tools to get the job done,” he said.
The new company arose today as the bulk of General Motors Corp.’s assets were transferred to a company controlled by the U.S. government.
Published in The Messenger 7.10.09
Henderson said the company would reduce its overall U.S. salaried employment by 20 percent by the end of 2009. He said management ranks will be cut by 35 percent, or 450 executives, including the elimination of its North American president position. Henderson said he will take responsibility for North American operations.
He said Bob Lutz, a legendary industry executive, was “unretiring” to become a vice chairman responsible for all creative elements of products, marketing and customer relationships. Lutz had previously planned to retire at the end of the year after more than four decades in the auto business.
The automaker is launching a “Tell Fritz” Web site to allow owners and the public to share their concerns with senior management and he planned to go out on the road every month, Henderson said.
“We need to listen to the questions, ideas and the concerns of the people who matter the most,” Henderson said.
The new company will focus on three top priorities, customers, cars and culture, he said.
Published in The Messenger 7.10.09

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