General Motors was founded in Flint, Michigan, 101 years ago. The company has owned a number of other car makers, including Lotus, but perhaps the most important European venture was the purchase of Opel in 1929.
In 1998 a 56-day strike at GM’s Flint stamping operations shut down all of its North American assembly plants.
In 2000 there was more controversy for GM when it decided to kill off Oldsmobile.
A decision to buy 20 per cent of Fiat in 2000 backfired when, in 2005, it had to pay the Italian firm $2 billion to cancel a “put” option that would have forced it to buy the rest of Fiat.
In July 2008 GM revealed plans to cut costs by $10 billion and raise $5 billion through selling off its assets and borrowing, but by November it admitted its liquidity would fall short of the minimum needed to run its business by the first half of 2009.
On 2 December last year GM was forced to seek government aid of up to $18 billion and, along with Chrysler, it received $17.4 billionn in government loans two weeks later.
In February this year the depth of GM’s problems were reflected in a 2008 loss of $30.9 billion.
On 22 April the company said it was unlikely to make a $1 billion debt payment due 1 June and after a number of last-minute plans and a first-quarter net loss of $6 billion it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York today.