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GM Not Seeing Signs of U.S. Recovery, Wagoner Says

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Jeff Green
Sunday, Aug 17, 2008

General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner said he’s not yet seeing signs of a recovery in the U.S. economy or in vehicle sales following the recent decline in oil prices.

“It still feels to me like we’re in it,” the CEO of the world’s largest automaker said, referring to the sluggish economy that helped push GM to $15.5 billion in losses in the second quarter. He was speaking at the Athens Coney Island restaurant in Royal Oak, Michigan, after leading a morning parade of classic GM cars from the past 100 years.

Wagoner is trying to increase cash by at least $15 billion before the end of next year to pay the bills while he works to recover sales lost to Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. GM’s U.S. market share is the lowest since 1925 and the Detroit automaker has lost $69.8 billion since 2004, its last profitable year.

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The automaker may seek to modify the structure of financing necessary to create a fund in 2010 to rid itself of future union retiree health-care costs, Wagoner said today. GM already reached an agreement to delay some cash payments and other cash payments might be modified, without delaying the implementation of the fund, he said. GM Chief Financial Officer Ray Young also said Aug. 13 that GM may need to restructure the financing of the fund that will save GM $3 billion a year after 2010.

“I wouldn’t rule it out if it made sense for everyone to look at that,” Wagoner said.

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This article was posted: Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 5:07 am

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