What Should You Know About The Reborn General Motors?

Cupcakes all around! Government General Motors emerged from bankruptcy today, and the shiny new version of GM is now leaner, in charge, and ready to manufacture cars that people actually want to buy. Maybe.

How are they doing? Hard to tell, says Marketwatch in an extended car-racing metaphor. GM stock won’t be issued until next year, so it’s hard to tell what the markets’ view might be. Guess we’ll have to wait until the new company starts producing actual cars that don’t suck.

For details about the new GM, its ownership, and how the change affects current and future GM customers, visit this very thorough guide at Consumer Reports Cars.

What the post-bankruptcy GM means to you [Consumer Reports Cars]
GM back in the race [MarketWatch]

(Photo: Cantoni)

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  1. MostlyHarmless says:

    Laura, you might want to put up a notice like the one we had for the NRA article. That would make it easier for Roz to decide what is fair game for gutting ;)

    (Since it is clearly not going to deter any sniping.)

  2. laserjobs says:

    Does anyone have a total for how much bailing out GM has cost the US taxpayer to date?

    • Aphex242 says:

      @laserjobs: 30-50 billion, the article doesn’t make it really clear.

      What is worth noting, is that it’s not like that money just went down a rathole (unless you argue, maybe correctly, that GM is boned long term). That bought an ownership stake, in what might turn into a decent company again.

      We’ll see.

      • ARP says:

        @aphex242: But didn’t our ownership stake get liquidated/repacked/devalued in bankruptcy. So, yes we still own GM stock, but how much in stock do we have compared to how much we put in?

        Also I’m interested if the new “owners” can work together. The UAW trust ownership is the one that’s most interesting. By definition, there needs to be less “us v. them” beacause now, “us” is “them.”

        • Jim Topoleski says:

          @ARP: “But didn’t our ownership stake get liquidated/repacked/devalued in bankruptcy. So, yes we still own GM stock, but how much in stock do we have compared to how much we put in?” No the governments shares didnt, people who owned it prior to the bankruptcy though did get devalued.

        • Con Seannery says:

          @ARP: That strikes me as a conflict of interest, the UAW being the owner, at least in part, of GM and Chrysler.

          • Darklighter says:

            @Con Seannery: Nonsense. It’s always been in the UAW’s interest for GM to succeed, and that’s now truer than ever.

          • ARP says:

            @Con Seannery: I think the UAW wants GM to succeed. But I think I understand where you’re coming from, they’ve been bitter enemies for so long, it feels like a lion sleeping with the lamb situation.

            But I don’t know that things got really bitter between them until more recent history when GM executives kept paying themselves higher and higher salaries and bonuses. The UAW saw that and dug in harder and harder on medical, pension, salaries, job preservation, etc. Essentially, the attitude was “if they can pay themselves so handsomely, why not us?” In turn executives felt they deserved more than some pissant line worker. Little regard was given by EITHER SIDE about how the escalating payments would impact the company. So their competitive/vengful behaviour, along with poor strategic decisions, poor quality control, engineering, etc. led to their demise.

            A long way of saying, they used to not hate each other so much and hopefully, they can be friendly now that they’re in bed together.

      • Con Seannery says:

        @aphex242: It’ll never get its old position as the largest company in the world, or the largest automaker, I’m sure, but I think they’ll do alright. They didn’t run themselves too badly, they just misread the market and were holding out to be right…and held out too long.

        • MinorAnnoyance says:

          @Con Seannery: I pretty much agree with you that they misread the market… the problem for me is that they misread it for almost 40 years starting with the first big fuel crunch back in the 70s.

          But in that, they didn’t do any differently than the other two did… all of them went from pushing the gas guzzler muscle cars of my day to pushing the gas guzzler suburban mini-tanks of the recent past.

          None of them ever caught to the fact that they were pushing a totally discredited and obsolete business plan.

        • HiPwr says:

          @Con Seannery: I hope they do alright. If they do, it will be in spite of government interference in their operations, not because of it.

  3. MacQix says:

    what about those who have stock in GM? What happens to their stock?

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

      @MacQix: You are stakeholders in the GM bankruptcy. They owe you a debt but it will be settled for a fraction of the amount they owe.

      The GM you had stock in no longer exists. Their assets were liquidated and sold to GM.

      • wrjohnston19283 says:

        @WiglyWorm:
        GM does NOT owe stock holders a debt, that would be for bond holders. Stockholders rarely get anything in a bankruptcy, as most companies only file for bankruptcy when they are losing money, and their assets are greater than their liabilities. Stock holders are paid AFTER the liabilities are paid off, and if all of them don’t get paid the stock holders get nothing.

        The “old GM” is still around, but simply a holding company for unfunded liabilities, a defendant in lawsuits, and other non-profitable adventures.

        Old GM stock is currently around $1.15 (went up 33% today, I didn’t bother reading why, but it could be because people heard “GM exited bankruptcy” and didn’t realize it was the “new GM”. I only expect it to go down from here.

    • jayphat says:

      @MacQix: They have a nice collection of very expensive toilet paper now.

  4. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    I wonder if they are going to take a cue from Ford, which I have noticed has started to use more European styling in their cars. Face it, as much as I love them, American cars suck style wise. They have recently begun to get better, but when you look at the Focus, the Euro design fits SOOOO much better to that American market they are aiming for with that car. Yet the American version looks like someone had some extra Lego’s and built the prototype.

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

      @socalrob: They really do. Every American car I can think of looks like a 2 bit knock off of a foreign car.

      • Jim Topoleski says:

        @WiglyWorm: For you maybe. Dont forget prior to the Bankruptcy despite the claimed “Crappy styling” more people bought American over the Japanese. And even after the more AMERICAN styled cars like the Malibu and Camaro are hot sellers

        So obviously they are styling their cars right, its just not a style YOU like.

        • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

          @Jim Topoleski: That’s a pretty dubious claim. Ford, Chevy, and Chrysler had a combined market share hovering at ~50% before the bankruptcy.

          But, come on now, Aveo vs Fit? Taurus vs Camry vs Civic?

          You can’t tell me you’d take the american version in any similar styled match up, can you?

          • Blufyor says:

            @WiglyWorm: The revived Taurus is larger than the Camry (and even a bit larger than the Avalon!) and IMHO seems to be aiming more at the Germans’ market, like Hyundai is with the Genesis. The Five Hundred/first new Taurus has a very VW Passat-like profile, and it looks like they’re positioning their newest Taurus to compete with full-size German cars in terms of styling & bundled gizmos.

            (I do overwhelmingly agree with your point otherwise, though. And it looks like Ford is scrapping their US Focus and bringing back the Euro design for that reason!)

          • Sudonum says:

            @WiglyWorm:
            According to this [online.wsj.com] GM, Ford, and Chrysler had a combined 45.3% of market share last month (June 2009). Asian brands (Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, and Subaru) had a combined 35.5%. European brands made up the difference. Take out Hyundai and Kia (Korean) and your total for Japanese cars is down to 28%. US brands outsold Japanese brands by 17%. 2009 YTD and 2008 figures are similar.

        • ARP says:

          @Jim Topoleski: I don’t think its the styling, I think its quality mixed with style. People who by civics and Malibu’s are trying to push the envelope. They want a halfway decent looking car that lasts. This is where I think GM fell down.

          • Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

            @Jim Topoleski: People want good looking cars that aren’t shoddily built. GM in particular seems to think only their big expensive models deserve to look nice and feel comfortable, and seems to think small-car buyers aren’t important and therefore don’t deserve any comfort or style. In the old days of Detroit, if you wanted a better car, you traded up to the more expensive mid or full-sized model, but that kind of thinking doesn’t fly in 2009.

            Ford seems to have figured that out, and with any luck, the new GM and Chrysler will figure that out too (if they don’t, they’re never going to make any headway in the small car market).

            People also want reliability and longevity. Every American car I’ve ever had was a total piece of junk by 110,000 miles and yet most Japanese and European cars seem to be good for at least 150,000 miles and often 200,000.

        • RogerTheAlien says:

          @Jim Topoleski: Really? How are you validating this claim? Based on total number of cars bought? Based on per-capita? Based on sales? Everyone I know, liberal and conservative, all pretty much agree American are total crap in both styling and quality (save heavy-duty trucks, which seem to be a purely American thing). Maybe you stake your claim on rental car companies. They buy a TON of American cars. We’re a country of cars, for better or worse, and just because a lot/more were sold doesn’t mean that they’re doing better or aren’t ugly-as-sin.

      • Con Seannery says:

        @WiglyWorm: There are some American cars I like the look of…in divisions that have been shuttered or spun off…

    • MooseOfReason says:

      @socalrob: They should have taken a cue from Ford and not taken any bailout money.

      • Lincolnsbeard33 says:

        @MooseOfReason: well Ford doesnt’ need any bailout money. They are still doing fine, they learned if they are going to stay around they need to build fuel efficient cars. GM on the other hand is just a complete mess.

        • Sudonum says:

          @Lincolnsbeard33:
          The only reason Ford didn’t take any bailout money is because they mortgaged everything they owned 3 years ago. They are still drawing off of those loans rather than the Fed.

          From [en.wikipedia.org]
          “In December 2006, Ford announced that it would mortgage all assets, including factories and equipment, office property, intellectual property (patents and trademarks), and its stakes in subsidiaries, to raise $23.4 billion in cash. The secured credit line is expected to finance product development during the restructuring through 2009, as the company expects to burn through $17 billion in cash before turning a profit.”

          They were ridiculed at the time.

        • MooseOfReason says:

          @Lincolnsbeard33: If it was a complete mess, why couldn’t we have let it go bankrupt?

  5. JoeDirt says:

    I hope GM can get out of trouble. I love the GM V8’s. Great motors. But, until GM can get out from the govt umbrella, and Detroit can fix its problems, I’m buying the M3 coup instead of the Corvette.

    • JoeDirt says:

      @JoeDirt: “Coupe”, Sorry, I don’t want to leave myself open to sophomoric ridicule.

    • nerdtalker says:

      @JoeDirt: I don’t blame you. I’d take an M3 coupe over a Corvette any day of the week.

      Luxury + performance, or just… well… performance and iffy GM backing. Seems like a no-brainer.

  6. Bryan Fernandez says:

    Are we done bailing them out? Is this it?

  7. mbz32190 says:

    I don’t understand why GM even restructured…a floundering economy when many barely have enough money to put food on the table and make rent is not a good situation for drawing in car buyers. (Of any make, really)

  8. minsky says:

    I’m so damn tired of hearing about GM. All this ‘new’ GM crap is just that, crap. How many times over the past 20 years have we heard that a new dawn is coming for GM?

    I will believe that GM has truly been reborn and remade when I see it. So far, absolutely nothing I have read or seen leads me to believe anything will be any different.

  9. Josh Saint Jacque says:

    GM has been making cars people want to buy. In 2007 they sold as many cars, and got as much revenue, as Toyota. Yet while Toyota made a profit GM lost billions. This isn’t about sales, it’s about costs. And unfortunately this government bailout and restructuring did nothing to address that. The only way GM can be saved is if they can eliminate their legacy costs, and that means the union is finally going to get what’s coming to it.

    • wrjohnston19283 says:

      @Josh Saint Jacque:

      The union has agreed to numerous wage cuts, as well as taking ownership in the new GM in exchange for forgiving liabilities they were owed for pensions and medical expenses.

      GM also got rid of debt that they were paying interest on, and they have cut many management positions and streamlined their decision making process.

      This coming from a guy who owns Ford stock.

    • MinorAnnoyance says:

      @Josh Saint Jacque: So what exactly does the union have coming to it?

      • RogerTheAlien says:

        @MinorAnnoyance: Exactly. Am I the only one that thinks unions have outlived their efficacy? Yeah, they were great in the era before wage laws, workers’ rights, etc. But now, they’re like this huge burden on, well, a LOT of industries. Perhaps UAW is WHY GM failed?

  10. Con Seannery says:

    Are they still ditching Saturn? I kinda like that Sky…the Pontiac Solstice looks pretty good to me, too. A shame Pontiac is getting killed.

    • Robobot says:

      @Con Seannery: They are ditching Saturn, but as far as I know Penske-yes, that Penske- has decided to pick them up.

      One or two of the more iconic Pontiac models are also sticking around, but I’m not sure if they are going to be with GM.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Con Seannery: Buy one before they’re gone! Oh wait. None of us have money.

  11. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I’m still mad they canned Pontiac (and the new Trans Am). Now I drive a Hyundai, and I’m very happy with it. There is supposedly some sort of Hyundai coupe or roaster coming out with the Genesis engine…that sound exciting to me.

  12. crazydavythe1st says:

    Everyone always says that GM only makes cars that people don’t want, they are stuck making giant SUVs that no one wants, etc. and maybe I’m crazy but everyone I know DOES want an SUV, a giant V8 truck, or a fancy muscle car. They point at models that GM or Ford makes and they say “that’s a real good looking car”. The families that would be purchasing those “cars that people don’t want” haven’t gone anywhere; they’re just forced to put off their car purchases do to a poor economy.

    Of course, the other giant hurdle is the whole quality thing. These people that look at GM or Ford and while they see desirable cars, they know that a GM or a Ford will likely need major work before they hit 100k miles. I absolutely wouldn’t mind a new Camaro or a new Volt….or a new Corvette, or a new Silverado, etc if it wasn’t for these reliability issues. My father, a retired transmission mechanic, claims that GM started dying in the mid to late 80s when foreign cars were suddenly cheap, reliable, and had somewhat acceptable styling as Oldsmobiles straight out of the factory (sometimes right outside of the dealership) were having to have transmissions rebuilt due to design flaws. I think people still do want to buy American; they just want something with a warranty that will cover everything to around 100k miles, not just the powertrain because face it – many of us have had a bad experience buying American. Seriously though, I look at foreign cars, and while I know I’m compromising on style, I feel more confident that the car won’t spontaneously implode as it gets older.

    • anduin says:

      @crazydavythe1st:
      people who drive huge trucks and don’t use it for anything other than to roar their engines are d-bags

    • sinfonian94 says:

      @crazydavythe1st: Again, 207k on my Cadillac before major repairs needed, and 160k on my Ford and still going strong.

      • crazydavythe1st says:

        @sinfonian94: I think that’s the exception rather then the rule, but I agree that there’s a lot to support the idea that they seem to be slowly improving in reliability. In fact, unlike most everyone else on here, I can kinda actually see GM and Ford rising back on top again. They seem to be improving in reliability as I said, they’ve shed most of their debts that were setting them back, they have several great models that seem to be coming out soon or have just come out, and it seems like the recession might be ending by next year. Maybe.

        @anduin: That’s true. Of course the other half that own huge trucks have legitimate uses for them.

  13. I Love New Jersey says:

    Here is all you have to know-
    New General Motors: see British Leyland

  14. Skaperen says:

    (G)arbage (M)otors?

  15. KMan13 still wants a Pontiac G8 says:

    I STILL want a pontiac G8

  16. Skin Art Squared says:

    I could care less what they do. I have an essentially brand new vehicle. Bought a 2005 model brand new, (paid in full) which now has 9000 miles on it. The last year accounts for 1200 of those, so the amount goes down every year. So, I’m averaging 1800 miles per year.

    Which means, given my age of 42, either this current vehicle will last me until long after I’m dead, or until the oil runs out and only the rich are able to buy gas. Either way, I’m never buying another vehicle. And it feels good to know that that expense is eliminated from the rest of my life.

    • dougkern says:

      @BZMedia: Rad bro, thanks for sharing.

    • shepd says:

      @BZMedia:

      Dude, don’t wish your life away like that…

      • trixrabbit says:

        @BZMedia: sure. an ’05? wait a few more years when that rattletrap starts falling apart — or you can’t afford the replacemnt engine/transmission. you WILL be purchasing a new vehicle in your lifetime. unless you live to be 43.

        • Skin Art Squared says:

          @trixrabbit: “wait a few more years when that rattletrap starts falling apart — or you can’t afford the replacemnt engine/transmission”

          Rattletrap? It has 9000 miles on it. It still smells like a new vehicle after 4 years. Age by itself doesn’t mean much when you aren’t putting wear and tear on it. I drive it just enough to keep it from deteriorating. Where I live is very vehicle friendly. No snow, no salt. Why would I need to replace an engine or tranny that has nothing wrong with it? If I continue at 1800 miles per year (or close to it) and get services when I need them, you’re telling me that when I’m 75 years old and the vehicle has 59,000 miles on it, it’s no good anymore?

          Not suggesting I’m going to croak at exactly 75 years old, but it’s a good general marker for estimation purposes. I’m still comfortable that it will last longer than 59,000 miles.

          • Geekybiker says:

            @BZMedia: Age means alot. Rubber dries out with age, plastics become brittle and crack. Simply not driving a car doesn’t prevent it from falling apart. Sure the metal bits will probably be good for a long while, but the rest needs replaced on a regular basis.

      • Skin Art Squared says:

        @shepd: “Dude, don’t wish your life away like that…”

        I’m happy with my vehicle. 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab v8 4×4, 6 inch suspension lift. Spray in bed liner, side bar steps, no carpet. It’s perfect. Hauls anything I need, plus the dogs. Yeah, it’s a gas guzzler, but I fill up roughly once every couple of months or so because I barely drive anywhere. So gas isn’t an issue.

    • anduin says:

      @BZMedia:
      lol you think youll be driving that thing 10, 15, 20 years down the line ? Its like cars are made to break in a couple years, especially the US ones. Get a used mazda, honda, toyota, suzuki, subaru…etc and drive it for twice as long :p

  17. ShariC says:

    Rather than be pessimistic about American car makers, I hope other Americans will at least consider them. I’m not encouraging protectionism or buying an inferior car in order to support the U.S. economy, but at least new models should be looked into to determine if they’re of better or equal value to other cars. Automatically discounting a car because of its maker doesn’t seem prudent.

    We make the economy we live in. If people want U.S. jobs to be created, they at least have to consider American-made products rather than automatically assume that another country is going to do better.

    • anduin says:

      @ShariC:
      see job creation should not be a motivating factor here whatsoever, I don’t ever buy a product thinking what effect it has on 1. the economy 2. supply jobs. Auto workers get paid VERY well for what they do so forgive me if I have little sympathy.

      • sinfonian94 says:

        @anduin: Assembly line workers at auto plants average about $27 an hour. New hires get about $13-14 and hour. I wouldn’t call that VERY well. I’d call the 27 about right, and the 13-14 barely enough.

    • atashida says:

      @ShariC: While in a big-picture sense I agree with you, Honda and Toyota do have plants here and employ US workers.

    • alexcassidy says:

      @ShariC: I’d totally consider a Ford. GM and Chrysler can blow me.

  18. dl33124 says:

    You could not pay me enough to buy a Obamamobile,never.
    This government likes to shove chiniese junk down peoples throats, I’ll only buy oreintal made cars.Fuck GM and this government!They should have let them go out of bussiness just like a mom and pop buissness in hard times.

    • RogerTheAlien says:

      @dl33124: “oriental made cars”? You mean, all those rug guys are now making automobiles, too? Wow, who’d have thought.

      So, are you racist much? Or just ignorant?

  19. anduin says:

    what you should know: don’t buy a GM cause they suck, until they bring in Japanese auto engineers they need to lay back with their idiotic 3 ton vehicles

  20. TechnoDestructo says:

    So why’d they kill two of the most fuel-efficient performance vehicles on the market?

  21. Skin Art Squared says:

    And this just struck me too, but if I couldn’t afford to replace the engine or tranny as you’re suggesting, you think I’d be able to afford a whole new car?

    • anduin says:

      @stuny:
      I dont think big cars are the issue, its cars that have a tendency to break down much too quickly making your investment a waste. Mercedes cranked out a cleaner diesel model last year and it sold very well for SUVs but thats also prob because Mercedes are expected to go without major overhauls after 5 years of use. I honestly don’t care about green cars or whatnot, I want a car that burns as little fuel as possible and if just happens to be environment friendly, fine.

  22. stuny says:

    GM may have made a ton of mistakes, but it is absurd that we continue to criticize GM for making SUVs. Hmmm, the profit margin on an SUV is $8,000 to $12,000 and the profit on a small car may only be a few hundred. Isn’t GM a public company with an obligation to its shareholders to make money?

    Oh, and if I remember correctly, Americans BOUGHT the big vehicles like crazy and ignored the economy cars.

    We can blame GM for a million missteps that led to their downfall, but let’s give up on the revisionist green-wannabe misrepresentation that we would’ve bought an electric car if GM had just offered us one. No, we wouldn’t have.

    Stop blaming GM for responding to their customers.

    We SHOULD however, punish GM execs by forcing them to own ONLY Pontiac Aztecs the rest of their lives. And their garages should be lined with mirrors so they must see themselves pull up in that horrific abomination every day.

  23. MartaLolzor says:

    2002 Buick Century. Before I got off the lot the wipers failed. 3 Trips to the dealer to get those fixed. Then the intake manifold gasket went out and that sent me back 1000. Then it had brake issues and finally decided to take it to a 3rd party repair place to get that fixed. Then the ABS brake system failed. I didnt bother because of the cost. Then the windows failed. Had to get that fixed. Lets see, The Cluster lost its lights. I tore that out myself and replaced all the stupid cheap resistors to get it working just in time to have the gas gauge fail. I did that too because of the expense.

    GM was due to go under just like any company that makes poor products. The only difference is that we are going to prolong this pain with the addition of the goverment involvement with them. Any time the goverment gets involved in things its a losing proposition. I will not ever buy another GM car. I might buy a ford because they had some type of backbone and didnt take the bailout money.

  24. bananaboat says:

    Make cars we actually want? Buzz word. What, they forgot about that concept for the past 10 years and finally found the simple silver bullet? I see GM struggling to come up with anything appealing but they have a much better chance than Chrysler.

  25. Ryne Mattull says:

    How is it fair that GM gets bailouts while people are living on the streets? how about cut the CEO’s pay and use that instead? And besides their vehicles are crap anyway. Cobalt parts are made in china! And GM cant even touch foreign cars like Toyota. Sure they are from japan, but at least their govt isn’t communist. I bought a 09 Tacoma two months ago and I bet you that it was last much longer then its Gm counterpart. how many older Gm trucks do you see? not many, i see more old Toyota trucks, cause they are built to last a lifetime plus 10. and the body will go before the engine. Pontiac for example has their engines come from Korea, and the transmissions from japan. How is that American? Toyota makes their trucks in Texas. Enjoy your “American” cars because they are far from it.