US president Barack Obama is today likely to confer new meaning on words spoken by former GM president Charlie Wilson in 1952, when he told the US senate ‘that what is good for General Motors is good for our country’.
President Obama is expected to announce details of the bankruptcy in person at a news conference today. However, it has been widely trailed that the deal will see the US government take a stake of between 60 and 70 per cent in return for its tax dollars, essentially turning GM into a nationalised business.
GM plans to close or mothball up to 14 US plants and almost halve its 54,000-strong US workforce.
Here in Europe, The German government approved the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to a consortium led by Magna, but in spite of reassurances from business secretary Peter Mandelson about Vauxhall manufacturing in the UK, no clear picture has emerged as to where the axe will fall to fix the European over-capacity problem.
Saab, also owned by GM, is up for offer as a separate entity – with Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg recently emerging as a possible bidder.
Today is also a key date for Chrysler, as last night a US bankruptcy court approved its sale to Fiat.