GM CEO sees bright days ahead

General Motors CEO Dan Ackerson says company is stabilized, on way to profitability not seen in decades

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®

DETROIT - General Motor is on the comeback trail, says CEO Dan Ackerson.

Ackerson believes the company is stabilized and on its way to the kind of profitability no one has seen in a generation.

"We had to kind of take a deep breath after we emerged from bankruptcy, generate some cash -- we've done that -- and with a reasonably "old" portfolio we are now going to really come into some good days," Ackerson said.

He said he is grateful for the hand taxpayers and the federal government gave the company. Now, he says, it's time to move forward.

When the federal government sells GM its shares by the end of March 2014, the government likely will take a severe hit. However, at least for the company, it can shed the moniker "Government Motors."

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"It's good in the sense that it says this chapter in our history will close and we'll become a company that's owned by the market, not by, partially, by the government. I think that's a good thing for our employees, a good thing for our share holders and I think it's a good thing for the market more broadly," Ackerson said.

He said GM's market share, at just less than 18 percent, should stabilize and even grow a bit in the coming year. However, it's profitability is what Ackerson is more concerned with. That requires a new and better product.

Ackerson says 70 percent of the North American portfolio will get refreshed or remade in the next year or two.

"Yeah, I'm optimistic, and with this new product onslaught, if you will, it's going to be a renaissance for us in the next couple of years," he said.

Ackerson says his next big project is to get GM bonds out of junk status, where they have been for the past eight years, and get to investment grade. But GM needs to remain greatly profitable in everything it does.

Ackerson will not be doing interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week.

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