General Motors does not intend to sell any of its brands except Hummer, company CEO Rick Wagoner has confirmed.
Asked whether the company was going to disperse its brands, Wagoner told Automotive News: “Our focus right now in this regard is exclusively on Hummer. We want to see how that plays out. We are getting some interest in it.”
Wagoner said that the company has not had any offers for Opel-Vauxhall or GM of China.
“We’ve got some other assets that we’re looking at selling,” he said, “but not brands.”
That means Saab, whose future within GM has at times looked distinctly uncertain – and which has had the launch of its critical new 9-5 model pushed back until 2010 - will stay as part of the car maker’s portfolio.
The Detroit car makers are lobbying for financial assistance this year, authorised by the current ‘lame duck’ Congress, before Barack Obama becomes president on 20 Jan 2009.
Wagoner made clear that GM is willing to sign up to the same business restrictions that the banks have accepted.
“We’ve studied the taxpayer protections that have been employed with the financial sector support payments,” he said, “and those seem to be reasonable expectations, whether that’s warrants or restrictions on executive compensation.”
The incoming Democrat administration is working behind the scenes to secure financing for the auto industry beyond the $25bn in soft loans set aside for investment in new, environmentally friendly technologies.
The efforts to secure emergency loans have stalled at the desk of treasury secretary Hank Paulson, who is adamant that any aid given to car makers must ensure their viability. He believes that the $700bn rescue package authorised in October should be limited to financial institutions.
Despite GM’s vast involvement in the US economy, any taxpayer-led rescue package would garner considerable opposition across the US.
Many of the car maker’s current running costs are linked to healthcare provision for GM’s current and past employees, leading many to complain that a bail-out would leave them subsidising other people’s healthcare bills in a country without a national health system.