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GM execs could invoke bankruptcy terms to reduce recall liability

General Motors could potentially reduce its product liability relating to a recall of around 1.6 million vehicles caused by a faulty ignition if the carmaker would invoke the terms of its bankruptcy restructuring.  The terms of GM’s restructuring tell that the carmaker’s product liability extends only to accidents that happened after the reorganized company – the new GM – emerged from bankruptcy in July 2009.

Plaintiffs injured before July 2009 would have to seek redress from the defunct shell of GM – the old GM -- in Bankruptcy Court, where the chances of gaining compensation is slim.

GM's original restructuring plan would have rendered the carmaker immune to liability claims from all of its pre-bankruptcy cars, including the oldest models covered by the ignition switch recall, like the Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5 and Saturn Ion. But due to intense discussions with state attorneys general and consumer groups such as the Center for Auto Safety, GM changed the terms.

Read the entire article GM execs could invoke bankruptcy terms to reduce recall liability

GM may lose almost $1 billion from bankruptcy-related lawsuit

There may soon be a ruling from a U.S. bankruptcy judge on whether the 2009 government-led restructuring of General Motors Co. had improperly favored hedge funds. GM may lose almost $1 billion if it gets an adverse decision. Judge Robert Gerber has to decide if a "lock-up agreement" in the restructuring released $367 million to a certain hedge fund noteholders at the expense of other creditors.

A lawsuit was filed by a trust that represents unsecured creditors to undo the lock-up agreement, asserting that it was a last-minute agreement hidden into GM's bankruptcy to guarantee the support of the hedge funds. Soon after "Old GM" filed for bankruptcy in 2009, its premium assets were sold to the new General Motors Co. What was left of the company was liquidated to benefit the creditors.

The hedge funds, which hold notes with about $1 billion in face value, got the $367 million under the lock-up agreement; however, unsecured creditors got only pennies on the dollar. In addition, the hedge funds and other investors in the notes received a claim against "Old GM" that cost $2.67 billion. Under this lawsuit pending before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, the creditors' trust claimed that the lock-up agreement was not fair to "Old GM" creditors.

Read the entire article GM may lose almost $1 billion from bankruptcy-related lawsuit

GM legally avoided paying U.S. federal income taxes since exiting bankruptcy

Even as General Motors Co.’s worldwide tax rate will rise by up to 13%, it still doesn’t have to pay U.S. federal income taxes. It was exempted ever since it exited bankruptcy. Since 2009, GM has had earnings of over $13 billion. For the first quarter of the year, GM has earned $1 billion in profits. It’s likely that GM won’t pay any income for more years to come.

To offset profits, Treasury Department ordered that GM will use $18 billion in losses. According to GM spokesman Jim Cain, the company pays "significant" state taxes but due to its major losses, it isn’t required to pay federal tax liability. He confirmed that no federal income tax was paid in 2011.

In recent years, Ford Motor Co. has paid really low worldwide income taxes in recent years in the past few years after it lost $30 billion between 2006 and 2008. It has also not been able to use past losses to offset its profits. In 2011, Ford paid a total of $268 million in worldwide income taxes, a significant jump from $73 million. It also posted an income of $7.8 billion, with the exclusion amounting to $12.4 billion in deferred tax assets.

Read the entire article GM legally avoided paying U.S. federal income taxes since exiting bankruptcy

US Bankruptcy Court approves liquidation terms to GM’s estate

A judge overruled objections by Onondaga County, New York, over environmental contamination, giving approval of liquidation terms to General Motors Corp.'s unwanted businesses in bankruptcy. Earlier this week in Manhattan, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber said that on March 3, there will be hearing to resolve other disputes so that the plan can be confirmed.

Gerber approved the so-called disclosure statement, permitting creditors to vote on the reorganization that’s considered the largest in history. Gerber explained that the disclosure statement isn’t meant to address any individual constituents' problems.

He ordered the addition of language to demand that a trial to estimate asbestos liabilities would have to be completed before implementing this plan.

Read the entire article US Bankruptcy Court approves liquidation terms to GM’s estate

General Motors Corp.'s bankruptcy estate is awaiting the court’s approval of a settlement that would set aside $773 million to resolve environmental claims by the federal government and 14 states.

In a statement, Gary Grindler, acting deputy attorney general, said that a combination of cash and assets, placed in trusts, would clean up and administer 89 properties, 59 of which have been contaminated.

Before the bankruptcy court will decide on GM’s request, there will be a 30-day period to gather public comment.

Read the entire article GM’s unwanted businesses in bankruptcy won conditional court approval

The "New GM" will be emerging from Chapter 11 this Thursday, according to U.S assistant attorney Matthew Schwartz, who is closely involved with the General Motors bankruptcy hearings. In court records, he disclosed that the "parties are prepared to close immediately upon the expiration of the stay on Thursday afternoon."

He added that the parties have actually been prepared to close since earlier this week.  Last Sunday, Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber approved the sale of GM's assets to a new entity majority owned by the US government; however, he also ordered a stay on the sale until Thursday to allow groups of dissenters to file for appeals.

Judge Gerber yesterday denied a motion by a group claiming to have been injured by GM vehicles to skip the US District Court appeals process and appeal directly to the US Court of Appeals. He also rejected a request from a group of asbestos claimants to stay the sale longer.

Read the entire article New GM could emerge from Chapter 11 this Thursday

Official financial results indicate that General Motors Co. lost $4.3 billion after it emerged from bankruptcy last year. The release of these statements brings the company a step closer to a stock offering.

In the last quarter of the year, GM revealed that it spent $1.9 billion in operating cash, partially due to repayments to governments that supported it during its restructuring. Including third-quarter results, GM generated $1 billion in 2009 cash after its bankruptcy.

In a statement, CFO Chris Liddell said that there remains some significant work to be done but that he thinks it has a chance of being profitable in 2010.

Read the entire article Report: GM lost $4.3 billion after it emerged from bankruptcy last year

A new beginning awaits GM after it has finally exited its 39-day stay in bankruptcy protection. GM Chief Fritz Henderson gave this description in light of having marked the end of the carmaker's troubles.

The US treasury will now own 61% of GM. The focus will be on its four key brands -- GMC, Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet.

Unwanted assets will be left behind in bankruptcy. Pontiac will be discontinued while assets that will be sold off include Saturn, Saab, Hummer and Opel/Vauxhall.

Read the entire article GM exits bankruptcy protection

Several years ago, on April 15, 2013, Ford and General Motors signed an agreement to jointly use automatic transmissions that both automakers had developed. This was developed mainly for models like the F-150 and the Mustang. For the former, their part of the deal was to share its own 10 speed gearbox to rear wheel drive cars with GM, and in return, they will be able to use the 9 speed gearbox which they can use in front wheel drive crossovers, for a smoother and more efficient drive.

The gearbox seen in this photo, the Hydra-Matic 9T50, which was originally introduced in Chevy models with the 2017 Malibu, 2017 Cruze Diesel and the 2018 Equinox will not find its way inside a Ford model. Rather, the automaker opted to use an eight speed box for models like the Edge and the MKX that replaces the Lincoln Nautilus.

So what made them change their mind? Well, Ford believes that GM’s transmission is not good enough to handle the extra weight that comes from the new gear. That is not all, because it also argues that it does not justify the increased cost required for it to adapt to the Ford models. AutoPacific Inc. analyst, Dave Sullivan, even joked that if he was offered a transmission that did not require much work, outside of tuning it for a specific vehicle, he would take it and run.

Read the entire article Ford won’t use GM’s 9 speed automatic transmission due to cost, efficiency snags

General Motors has long faced issues in the European market. After years of experiencing losses, as well as weakening sales, the brand earlier this year sold off not only its Vauxhall brand but even the Opel brand. Opel is the main brand name that GM uses in Europe with the exception of the U.K. In the United Kingdom, Vauxhall, a British subsidiary of Opel, uses its very own brand name.

GM had disclosed that its European operations experienced a $257 million loss, the 16th year it had done so. GM would then sell the Opel and Vauxhall brands to the PSA Group in a deal valued at $2.3 billion.

For those familiar with the matter, the European operations of Chevrolet, known way back as Daewoo, was also halted in 2013. This was after the Chevrolet brand experienced losses amounting to $18 billion over several years. The phaseout was completed by the later part of 2015. Saab, which is another GM brand, was initially sold in 2010 before succumbing to bankruptcy by 2012.

Read the entire article GM hints at possible full-scale comeback to Europe

Just last year, Cruise Automation was acquired by General Motors, and today, it is the self-driving startup that is gobbling up companies on its own. General Motors is stepping their game up once more. To make things easier for them when it comes to the development of autonomous cars, they decided to acquire California-based Strobe, Inc. Not a lot of you may have heard of this company, but Strobe specializes in LiDAR technology, and that is a huge step forward for companies who are into autonomous systems for automobiles. After the acquisition, Strobe engineers will become part of the automaker’s Cruise Automation team.

Julie Schoenfeld, Founder and CEO of Strobe, Inc., said in a statement that the successful deployment of self-driving vehicles will have to depend on the availability of LiDAR sensors. Furthermore, GM and Cruise will benefit from Strobe’s deep engineering talent and technology backed by a number of patents. And hopefully, the automaker brings these autonomous vehicles sooner than we would think.

LiDAR is different from radar systems because the former uses laser pulses to “see” an area, whereas the latter relies on radar systems to do the same thing. And the LiDAR, as we know, is much more detailed as it creates a better picture of its surroundings, which translates to a more accurate processing of information. In other words, the LiDAR system can see a more realistic picture of what’s around it - from cars, pedestrians, and the road. Therefore, the LiDAR systems will play a pivotal role in the current and future development of autonomous cars. However, radars and LiDARs can complement each other to create a more robust and fault-tolerant sensing suite, operating in a wide range of environmental and lighting conditions.

Read the entire article GM gets closer to producing fully autonomous vehicles with acquisition of Strobe Inc.

British startup Zenos, which entered bankruptcy administration earlier this year is now back in business. The Norfolk-based sports car manufacturer was bought by a consortium of investors headed by AC Cars, another British brand. The consortium has acquired all of its assets including Zenos’ intellectual property, ten remaining cars assembled, as well as its Wymondham headquarters.

Zenos Cars was founded in 2012 by Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards ---both were formerly connected to two famous British automotive companies--Lotus and Caterham. The British automaker started out at Hethel Engineering Center with a small lineup of lightweight carbon-fiber sports cars including the Zenos E10. Using Ford EcoBoost for its engine, the Zenos E10 sports car is also made with an aluminum and composite chassis. Eventually, the company started experiencing financial setbacks due to high production cost.

AC Cars Limited meanwhile continues to manufacture the Cobra also known as the MkVI roadster or Shelby Cobra. Only recently, the British brand increased its lineup by building a right hand drive version of the iconic sports car.

Read the entire article AC Cars saves Zenos brand from extinction

The ride-sharing fleet of sharing Lyft Inc. will soon include thousands of specially fitted self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles, courtesy of General Motors. If plans push through, Lyft’s clients would be riding in autonomous EVs as early as start of 2018, according to a report by Reuters, citing sources privy to GM’s plans.

This brings the partnership between GM and Lyft to a new level – a technologically advanced collaboration that involves not just innovative electric vehicles, but also ground-breaking autonomous ones. Deploying thousands of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EV to Lyft would allow the United States-based carmaker to accelerate tests of its autonomous technology on its zero-emission cars. One of Reuters’ sources divulged that Lyft is planning to deploy these autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EVs for testing in a number of states across the US.

GM’s plans are in line with pronouncements of its executives and with its investor presentations in 2016 that it intends to build a high volume of self-driving vehicles and then deploy them in ride sharing services like Lyft. Despite these pronouncements ad presentations, details are still vague as to how many autonomous vehicles will be built or when the US carmaker is specifically planning to deploy them. In fact, GM has only said in recent statement that its autonomous vehicle technology will be featured in an on-demand ride sharing network application sooner than people have expected. It should be noted that the GM acquired a minority stake in Lyft in 2016 for around $500 million.

Read the entire article GM to deploy thousands of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EVs to Lyft’s ride-sharing service

It looks like Opel/Vauxhall will have a new owner soon. This comes as the PSA Group and General Motors are currently holding talks over the possibility of GM selling its Opel unit to the French carmaker.

The discussions were first reported by Reuters and Bloomberg News, citing sources. In a recent statement, GM confirmed that the two carmakers are exploring several strategic initiatives with the objective of improving profitability as well as operational efficiency. GM added that the discussions included a potential acquisition of Opel Vauxhall by the PSA Group. GM also noted that the carmakers have been in alliance since 2012, with the partnership covering three projects in Europe.

Selling Opel to the PSA Group wouldn’t be an easy thing to do for GM. There are quite a number of financial, industrial and political considerations that needed to be factored in. That said, both GM and PSA could also earn some benefits from such transaction.

Read the entire article GM confirms holding talks to sell Opel to the PSA Group

A definitive fruit of a 2013 master collaboration agreement between American carmaker General Motors and Japanese auto company Honda has finally been realized.

Considered as two of the leaders of in fuel cell technology among carmakers, GM and Honda inked in 2013 a long-term agreement to co-develop the next-generation fuel cell system as well as hydrogen storage technologies. The two carmakers also aimed to advance refueling infrastructure to improve the viability of fuel cell vehicles. To achieve this, GM and Honda planned to share expertise and economies of scale as well as pursue common sourcing strategies – thereby making fuel cell systems less costly to produce for the carmaker and more affordable to end consumers.

The agreement resulted in the establishment of the Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC (FCSM), a manufacturing joint venture – as its name obviously indicates -- that will focus on the mass production of an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system that will be employed in the upcoming products from GM and Honda. The two carmakers will invest in equal amounts a total of $85 million in the joint venture – the first in the auto industry – with an aim to commence mass production operations by the end of the decade (2020). FCSM will be based within GM’s battery pack production site located in Brownstown, Michigan.

Read the entire article GM and Honda create Michigan-based joint venture for mass production of fuel cell systems

It seems that the much publicized breakfast meeting between the new President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, and the chief executives of General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler was a success, given the optimistic attitudes of the carmakers’ top honchos after the discussions.

Also present in the meeting – which GM CEO Mary Barra called as “very constructive” – Matt Blunt, a former Republican governor of Missouri who now serves as head of a US automaker trade association, Vice President Mike Pence, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and other senior administration officials.

Basically, the meeting centered on bringing more jobs back to the US, which is one of the primary promises that Trump made during the presidential campaign. Discussions also included the possible policies that Trump intends to implement in the auto industry and how he plans to make it more enticing for carmakers to build more assembly plants in the US to create more jobs, thereby keeping jobs in the country.

Read the entire article President Trump meets with Big Three CEOs over efforts to open jobs in the US

Remember Zenos Cars, a British carmaker that specializes in designing and building lightweight and high-performance sports cars? If you are wondering how the company is faring with their E10 lightweight car, Zenos hasn’t been doing well and is, in fact, in dire financial straits. The severity of its financial problems has the company compelled to enter into administration, a process that is similar to bankruptcy protection.

According to a notice on the carmaker’s Web site, the company was placed under administration on January 16, 2017, with Irvin Milton Cohen and Gary Paul Shankland -- both of Begbies Traynor (London) LLP -- being appointed as Joint Administrators. Cohen and Shankland are now acting as Zenos agents without any personal liability. As Joint Administrators, Cohen and Shankland are now in charge of the management of the carmaker’s affairs, business and property.

Zenos’ humble beginnings can be traced to May 2012, when it was founded by Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards. Edwards and Ali were both employees at Lotus, and then at Caterham. However, Ali left Zenos in 2015 and joined the ranks at McLaren – although he remained a shareholder. According to his LinkedIn account, Ali is now the managing director for McLaren Special Operations (MSO) at McLaren Automotive. Edwards is currently Zenos’ chief executive, although his management powers are now gone.

Read the entire article British sports car startup Zenos Cars goes financially bust

General Motors has teamed up with OnStar and IBM to create another technological innovation in the automotive world. The OnStar Go, General Motor’s new cognitive mobility platform, aims to help its customers “connect and interact” and purchase items even when on the go.

OnStar Go will make use of the IBM Watson, IBM’s artificial intelligence software and tech platform that reveals various requested data with the use of natural language processing and machine learning. It will then go through the data to identify patterns in the driver’s preferences including their decisions and habits; this information will then be sent to brand and marketing professionals who work with IBM and OnStar for them to provide individualized location-based interactions with their target audience and customers. In short, OnStar Go will provide in-car advertising in each GM model.

This new technology will be making its way in future GM models, and will be the equivalent of a Google Assistant or Siri. It will serve the same purpose as these smartphone assistants, suggesting nearby restaurant offers and even locate the nearest gas station.

Read the entire article GM teams with IBM to create new OnStar Go cognitive mobility platform in 2017

In a bid to streamline its various processes in racing engine design enhancements and its eventual application to production car models, General Motors recently announced the opening of its all new GM Powertrain Performance and Racing Center. Located in the Pontiac, Michigan campus, the new facility will house the soon-to-be relocated Performance and Racing team currently housed in their Racing Center in Wixom, Michigan facility.

The new center is part of the $200 million investment of the Pontiac campus and is now directly connected to GM’s Global Powertrain Engineering Center. Comprised of nearly 100 engineers, engine builders and support staff, the Performance and Racing team is mainly responsible for developing new engine designs for NASCAR, NHRA, IndyCar, and IMSA, among others. On the other hand, the Global Powertrain Engineering group is in charge for the production of powertrains for production vehicles.

Dan Nicholson, VP for General Motors Global Powertrain applauds the move. Nicholson observes that with the two divisions within easy reach, the set up offers faster communication between racing engineers and powertrain engineers allowing faster integration of racing tested new technologies to mainstream vehicle production. Nicholson added that “we race to win and learn” which means that racing ultimately benefits the end customers with better performing and safer vehicles.

Read the entire article GM opens performance and racing center

According to a General Motors (GM) Company executive, the automobile manufacturer will raise the production rate of its Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup, which has suffered from low supply since it was launched for customer sales 18 months ago.

Production and assembly of the Chevrolet Colorado are being held at GM's plant in Wentzville, Missouri, where its sibling vehicle GMC Canyon is also produced. According to Chevrolet Director of Truck Marketing Sandor Piszar, there is a "hard tooling capacity on the line.”

To meet the demand for the trucks, Piszar said that the company will increase the production capacity at its Wentzville plant. Additionally, GM Wentzville plant spokesman Darin Copeland confirmed that the company is working on the line speed to produce more trucks.

Read the entire article GM expands production of Chevrolet Colorado, Canyon at Wentzville Plant to meet global demand