Creating confidence in GM top priority: spokeswoman(1)
2009-04-09 09:13:58 [ Big Normal Small ]     Comment

Creating confidence in GM top priority: spokeswoman

The exhibition booth of GMC is crowded with journalists during the media preview of New York International Auto Show in New York April 8, 2009. New York International Auto Show will open to the public from April 10 to 19. (Xinhua/Liu Xin)

NEW YORK, April 8 (Xinhua) -- The top priority in the marketplace now is to create confidence in the General Motors and its products, said a GM spokeswoman here on Wednesday.

"The first priority in the marketplace today is to create confidence in our products and companies," said Debbie Frakes, GM communications manager, on the sidelines of the New York Auto Show, which officially opens to the public on Friday.

GM has started a Total Confidence Plan to this effect, said Frakes. "Just right after like the 9.11, when we introduced Keep America Rolling, we need to get back consumers back into dealership showrooms, and get customers behind the wheels of our new products."

She said GM was thankful as President Barack Obama has promised both GM and Chrysler that the U.S. government would guarantee their warranty, so that consumers can "feel confident about buying our products" during this difficult time.

GM dealers are creating a lot of special events, inviting customers back to showrooms and inviting them to special evenings to talk about the Total Confidence Package, she said.

GM has recently announced a new incentive program that it hopes will encourage people to enter the car buying market again.

"We have one crew, three shifts," she said, adding GM people are "working 24 hours, seven days a week," so as to lift the company out of the current crisis.

Noting President Obama wants GM to move faster, deeper and under the leadership of Fritz Henderson, Frakes said GM knows the urgent need to "restructure this company, in terms of with and without a bankruptcy," adding "our CEO Fritz Anderson was very clear about that on March 1, but the point is that the overarching objective however we get there, we need to be viable, healthy and profitable for the long-term."

"We are moving with a keen sense of urgency, and we understand that we are at stake, so we will win," she said.

However, according to media reports, GM, which has until June 1to complete a reorganization plan, warned this week that it is in "intense" and "earnest" preparations for a possible bankruptcy filing.

GM has lost about 82 billion dollars since 2005 when its problems began to mount in the U.S. market.

In late 2008 GM, along with Chrysler, became and continues to be dependent on government loans from the United States, Canada, and the Canadian province of Ontario to avoid bankruptcy due to falling sales (especially of sport utility vehicles and other large vehicles) resulting from the late 2000s recession, record oil prices peaking in the summer of 2008, and fierce competition.

On March 29, GM's Chairman and CEO, Rick Wagoner, agreed to immediately resign his position as part of an Obama administration automotive restructuring plan.

In announcing that plan, on March 30, President Obama stated that both GM and Chrysler may need to use "our bankruptcy code as a mechanism to help them restructure quickly and emerge stronger." He also announced that the warranties on cars made by these companies will be guaranteed by the U.S. Government.

On March 31, Obama announced that he will give GM 60 additional days to try and restructure their company and prove their viability. If they succeed, their reward is more government aid. If not, he says that Washington plans to "walk away" from the company, leaving them to collapse. Obama has laid out a similar plan for Chrysler. However, they have only been given 30 days to wrap up their deal with Italian automaker Fiat and to reduce debt and health care costs.


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