"Once you start losing revenues, you get into a vicious cycle that you can't get out of very easily."
General Motor lost money again in the first quarter of 2009 , and is just as certain to lose money again in the second quarter, given the company’s deep cuts in production now in the schedule.
Bankruptcy, once unthinkable, seems unavoidable in the wake of the $6 billion first-quarter loss — and a $10 billion cash burn — which only exacerbated the company’s already precarious financial situation. Worse, the company revenues plunged by nearly 50% in the first 90 days of this year, suggesting that the Obama Administration’s Auto Task Force really did have cause for recommending the dismissal of former GM chairman Rick Wagoner.
“Once you start losing revenues, you get into a vicious cycle that you can’t get out of very easily,” observed Ray Young, the company’s youthful chief financial officer who was plucked off the finance staff last summer to help guide GM through the grave and grave-digging crisis it is now facing.
Young also outlined another of GM’s serious problems. The drumbeat of bad news is drowning the company. “A lot of impact is already in the marketplace. We have anecdotal evidence that that spills over into places like Brazil. We can’t quantify the bankruptcy concerns, but there is an impact. If we have to go through a court process, it’s going to have to be quick,” he said.
The clear implication was that a long stay in bankruptcy court could very destructive to the company’s health. Perhaps any stay is fatal. GM needs to get customers to focus on the company’s products, not the bad news, Young said during a conference call with reporters and analysts. How GM can do that, given the lack of significant new products and the plentiful supply of bad news is not at all clear, to put it kindly. (more…)