The United States Treasury Department has sold its remaining stake in General Motors stock, effectively ending over four years of government ownership. In a statement, the government said that it managed to recover $39 billion of its original $49.5 billion investment into GM, resulting to a loss of $10.5 billion to US taxpayers. GM executives and dealers say that sales have suffered from the stigma of federal ownership, which led the carmaker to being called “Government Motors.”
“We will always be grateful for the second chance extended to us and we are doing our best to make the most of it,” GM chief executive Dan Akerson said in a statement. He remarked that continued investments, innovation, and job creation are just some of the “returns” of a healthy GM and domestic auto industry.
GM North America President Mark Reuss quipped that the federal government’s exit could give the carmaker a short-term sales boost and help its image in the longer term. “I think probably some people will begin to consider us right away, maybe the next day.” he said. He acknowledged that truck buyers “probably” have been most turned off by the government ownership of GM.
“Free at last, free at last -- thanks to all of the hard work and those who gave us a chance,” Reuss said in a Twitter message. According to Reuss, GM has spent “four years on the fundamentals” to become a more nimble company with a stronger concentration on building quality cars and trucks.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew dubbed the last share sale as “one of the final chapters” in the government’s efforts to “protect the broader economy by providing support to the automobile industry."