Calling BS On GM's "We Paid The Government Back" TV Ad

Unless you don’t have a TV, you’ve probably seen the new ads for General Motors where GM CEO Ed Whitacre touts the amazing rebound of the car manufacturer, and how they repaid their “government loan in full, with interest, five years ahead of the original schedule.” Yeah, well that might not be exactly true.

Points out Daniel Howes in the Detroit News:

What he doesn’t tell viewers is that a) the repayment of $4.7 billion came from taxpayer funds advanced to GM and b) that the feds still hold 61 percent of GM — valued at something like $43 billion.

The ad has also caught the attention of those on Capitol Hill. Yesterday, Rep. Darrell Issa wrote a letter to Whitacre expressing his misgivings:

We are concerned that GM, under your leadership, has come dangerously close to committing fraud, and that you might have colluded with the United States Treasury to deceive the American public.. If someone relies on your statements in the future… your false statements may expose GM to millions of dollars in damages, further reducing the value of the taxpayer-owned company.

But an unnamed GM exec defended the TV spot to the Detroit News. “We do have to walk a fine line,” said the executive. “You’re right: In the ad, we did not say we repaid the loans but we still owe $40 billion…. We didn’t say anything false.”

Do you think the ads are intentionally misleading?

GM ad glosses over the reality [Detroit News]

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