GM Ready to Pay Back Taxpayers

November 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
General Motors has announced it lost $1.2 billion dollars since it emerged out of bankruptcy protection in July. That's the same amount it plans to repay taxpayers when it makes its first loan payment next month.In the Valley, sales at Hedrick's Chevrolet are up at least 30 percent compared to early 2009, when sales hit rock bottom. "The trend for 2009 has been upward. Every month seems to be getting a little bit better than the previous," said Brett Hedrick.

Hedrick said the company is now selling about 60 to 80 vehicles a month. Though that's down from the 180 a month they sold before the recession, it's still up from the days earlier this year when they sold as little as 30. Hedrick said the last 18 months have been the worst he's seen in his entire career but it now appears things are looking up at both his dealership and its parent company. For one thing, GM is no longer operating with $95 billion dollars in debt hanging over its head. Earlier this year, the company took $50 billion dollars in government bailout money. Monday it announced it plans to start repaying American taxpayers.

Success overseas is also a big factor in GM's turnaround. Much of the company's profits are coming from outside the U.S., like China. Those overseas investments are upsetting to some lawmakers. "I don't think most Americans believe when the taxpayer bailouts were happening it was intended for that purpose. It was intended to protect the American economy, not take the money overseas," said Rep. Anthony Weiner, a New York Democrat.

While the taxpayer bailout remains the subject of criticism, news that GM is ready to start paying back its bailout money is welcome news to many. This, at a time Americans and dealerships are ready for any good news they can get.

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