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Old Problems Still Likely to Dog New GM CEO Mary Barra

Behind Barra’s unlikely ascent from shop rat to chief executive.

by on Jan.16, 2014

GM's new CEO Mary Barra celebrates while watching GM sweep the 2014 North American Car and Truck of the Year awards.

General Motors moved into a new era this week as its first woman chief executive took over the reins from Dan Akerson, the gruff graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, who guided GM out from under government control.

GM veteran Mary Barra will likely face a level of unprecedented scrutiny, said her mentor and predecessor, as she assumes a control of a global company with both newfound momentum and an assortment of serious challenges – among the need to continue regaining share in its home market, a European subsidiary that has been operating deep in the red for 14 years, and increasing competition in the critical Chinese market.

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However, the 51-year-old Barra is no stranger to hard work. When she joined GM as an 18-year-old co-op student at GM’s new-abandoned Pontiac Motor Division, she followed her father, a die-maker and member the United Auto Workers Union, into the factories in Pontiac, Michigan.


GM Earnings surge 60% to $7.6 Billion

But Q4 profits flatten as Europe flounders, Chinese sales soften.

by on Feb.16, 2012

GM CEO Dan Akerson: A strong performance during maker's first year after IPO.

Despite continuing losses in Europe and a drop in income from Asia, General Motors Co. reported a 60% increase in income for 2011, reporting it earned $7.6 billion, or $4.58 per share, up from $4.7

billion, or $2.89 share, in 2010.

But the maker saw earnings flatten out during the fourth quarter of the year.

Nonetheless, the strong upsurge for the full year means GM’s nearly 47,500 hourly employees in the U.S. will receive profit sharing check of up to $7,000 on profits generated in North America.

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“In our first full year as a public company, we grew the top and bottom lines, advanced our global market share and made strategic investments in our brands around the world,” said Dan Akerson, chairman and CEO.“We will build on these results as we bring more new cars, crossovers and trucks to market, and make GM a far more efficient global team. This includes reducing our break-even level in Europe and South America and driving higher revenues around the world,” Akerson said.


GM Posts 89% Jump In Earnings

The “results bear out,” says CEO Akerson, though investors remain skeptical.

by on Aug.04, 2011

"There's a high level of uncertainty out there," cautions GM CFO Dan Anmann.

A day after its stock took a drubbing – falling to the lowest level since last year’s IPO — General Motors Co. revealed it nearly doubled its second-quarter earnings as all of its global regions returned to the black.

The once-bankrupt maker had a net income of $2.5 billion, or $1.54 per share, an 89% improvement from the $1.3 billion, or 85 cents per share, earned during the same period a year ago.  Chairman and chief executive officer Dan Akerson noted it was GM’s company’s sixth consecutive profitable quarter – and the third since IPO — as the company continued to recover from its bankruptcy two years ago.

“GM’s investments in fuel economy, design and quality are paying off around the world as our global market share growth and financial results bear out,” Akerson said. “Our progress has been steady and we’re preparing to launch more new products this year, including the Chevrolet Sonic in North America, the Opel/Vauxhall Zafira in Europe and the Baojun 630 in China to keep the momentum going.”

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GM’s overall revenues increased 19%, or $6.2 billion to $39.4 billion, compared with the second quarter of 2010. Earnings before interest and tax, or EBIT, were $3 billion compared with $2 billion in the second quarter of 2010. There were no special items in either period.

Significantly, every region — including Europe — was in the black for the April – June quarter.  In the home market, GM North America (GMNA) reported an EBIT-adjusted profit of $2.2 billion, an improvement of $0.6 billion compared with the second quarter of 2010.


GM Says Opel Not for Sale

German subsidiary making “solid progress.”

by on Jul.18, 2011

Former GM engineer Frank Weber helped guide development of both the Chevy Volt and its near-twin, the Opel Ampera, shown here.

Again battling speculation about the possible sale of Opel, which has been circulating in the German press, General Motors has dropped its usual policy of not commenting on speculative stories by firmly stating the long-troubled subsidiary is not for sale.

GM came close to selling off a majority stake in Opel two years ago, and many observers, especially in Germany, believe that with Opel’s recovery still stalled GM might be once again looking for a buyer.  The long-running rumors gained momentum when Volkswagen chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn. Winterkorn last week suggested GM was trying to sell Opel.

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“In Wednesday’s edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn commented on rumors regarding Opel, which continues a regrettable pattern of fanning speculation as Opel makes solid progress in its restructuring, in generating improved operating results and more,” GM said in statement posted on the company’s media web site.


GM Beats Analyst Expectations With First Profit Since 2004

“We still have a lot to do,” says CEO Akerson.

by on Feb.24, 2011

Still plenty to do, said CEO Akerson, despite GM's first reported yearly profit since 2004.

General Motors Corp. made a profit of $4.7 billion during 2010, including $500 million in net income during the fourth quarter despite a 25% drop in earnings from its Asian operations and continuing losses in its struggling European automotive business.

GM also confirmed Thursday it will distribute a record profit sharing checks averaging $4,300 to 45,000 hourly workers in the United States. The payments, which will cost the GM about $189 million, are substantially larger any GM has distributed to workers since profit sharing was first included in its union contract in 1982.

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“Last year was one of foundation building,” Dan Akerson, chairman and chief executive officer, said, adding that, “Particularly pleasing was that we demonstrated GM’s ability to achieve sustainable profitability near the bottom of the U.S. industry cycle, with four consecutive profitable quarters.

It was the first time GM was profitable during all four quarters of the calendar year since 2004.  The maker subsequently ran up about $80 billion in losses before plunging into bankruptcy in May 2009.  It emerged from Chapter 11 protection two months later, but only after receiving $49.5 billion in federal assistance.

“We know we still have a lot to do,” Akerson said Thursday during a conference call with analysts and reporters.


Breaking News: GM Reports First Annual Profit Since 2004

$4.7 bil figure further evidence of recovery, maker says.

by on Feb.24, 2011

GM reports its first annual profit since 2004.

General Motors has posted $4.7 billion in earnings for 2010, its first annual profit since 2004, and another indication, the maker said, of its ongoing recovery after emerging from bankruptcy nearly two years ago.

A rebound in the North American market helped fuel the earnings, though GM’s numbers also received a significant boost from China where it is now the largest manufacturer in the booming market.  Concessions from union workers played a significant role in improving the bottom line, with analysts saying GM now has a significant cost advantage over foreign-owned transplant assembly lines.

For the fourth quarter, GM reported net income of $510 million – after taking $400 million in charges for buying preferred stock held by the U.S. Treasury and other one-time expenses – which worked out to $0.31 a share.  Factoring out the one-time charges, GM would have earned $0.51 a share, slightly above the consensus on Wall Street.

For the full year, GM earned $2.89 a share on revenues of $135.6 billion.  During the fourth quarter, revenues reached $36.9 billion, which was also ahead of the $34.3 billion estimated by analysts tallied by FactSheet.

GM ran up more than $80 billion in losses, starting in 2005 and continuing through to its 2009 bankruptcy – from which it emerged only after receiving about $50 billion in federal assistance.  It has since paid off all its outstanding U.S. and Canadian government loans and last November’s initial public stock offering resulted in the sell-off of slightly less than half the federal stake in the automaker.

Click Here’s complete report on the GM earnings.

GM’s Whitacre Wants To Sell Off Government’s Stake ASAP

But CEO won’t discuss timetable for IPO.

by on Aug.05, 2010

GM wants to sell off the government's 61% stake "as soon as possible," says CEO Ed Whitacre.

General Motors is working on its initial public offering, but the only timeframe Chairman and President Ed Whitacre would offer for the IPO, during an appearance Thursday, was “as soon as possible,” in his latest non-news statement.
“It’s number one on our list,” Whitacre, who also serves as GM’s chief executive officer, told the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City.  “We don’t like this label of ‘Government Motors.’ It turns customers off and it turns us off.”

Late last month, rumors began to circulate that GM would set out details of his planned stock offering around August 16th, following the release of its second-quarter earnings – about which Vice Chairman Steve Girsky today said analysts would be “encouraged.”

It is anticipated that the offering will be timed just before the upcoming mid-term Congressional elections, though neither Girsky nor Whitacre would confirm that timing. Ruling Congressional Democrats, along with incumbent Republicans face the wrath of voters this fall.

Following his speech at the annual industry confab, Whitacre told reporters that GM must file a massive application with the Securities Exchange Commission, something it is now working on.  But when GM does issue its IPO, Whitacre said he doesn’t expect any backlash as an automotive stock.

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“I think the appetite in the marketplace is going to be really good for GM stock,” he said. In fact, he added, some analysts said the automaker’s IPO could be the biggest ever.

When the stock does go public, Whitacre said he hopes that the government will be completely removed from any significant GM ownership.


GM Readying IPO Announcement in Mid-August?

Maker thinks it can pay back most or all of the taxpayer bailout.

by on Jul.23, 2010

Why is this man laughing? CEO Ed Whitacre could be ready to move on an IPO in a matter of weeks.

General Motors is expected to announce its eagerly-anticipated IPO in mid-August, industry sources are reporting, this morning.

The timing could permit the company to actually stage its return to Wall Street sometime before the hotly-contested November elections which, sources suggest, indicate GM’s growing confidence it will be able to pay back most, if not all of the $50 billion the U.S. Treasury invested as part of a 2009 bailout that climaxed with the automaker’s lightning-fast run through bankruptcy court.

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GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre Jr. has made no secret of his desire to stage an Initial Public Offering as soon as possible.  For one thing, that would end the government’s oversight of the largest domestic automaker.  But it would also help overcome criticism by many potential buyers who are loathe to do business with a company surviving on the public dole.