Things are beginning to look up again, at last, for long-troubled General Motors. Yesterday the firm issued public shares for the first time since its bankruptcy; they sold better than expected, and today are on track to raise $23bn for the General.

That’s still less than half of the bailout that GM was given by the US government, but should be enough to reduce the US tax-payer’s stake in the company to 33 per cent.

What’s more, GM is once again a globally profitable business: ‘right-sized’ and profitable in the US, profitable in South East Asia, seriously profitable in China. The disappointing thing to Europeans, of course, is that GM Europe is still losing money. However, as GM Europe President Nick Reilly explained to a room full of journalists last night, Europe won’t be loss-making much longer.

“We’re about a year behind the US in our restructuring plan, and we’re yet to see much financial reward from the cost cuts we’ve been making,” Reilly said. “It costs money to close plants and make redundancies: we’re currently closing our Antwerp plant, taking capacity out of others, and will have lost 8000 employees out of 50,000 by the middle of next year.”