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New GM CEO: We Got Obama's Message

New General Motors chief executive Fritz Henderson is holding a news conference in Detroit right now responding to yesterday's White House action against the company -- rejecting its restructuring plan and ousting chief executive Rick Wagoner.

Henderson, the company's former chief operating officer and a GM veteran, said that the ailing car company received "two very broad messages" from the White House: "Go deeper, go harder, and second, go faster. We understand exactly what that means. The view is we need to do more and we need to do it faster."

Henderson said there could be further plant closing in coming months.

He said the company relied too much for its profitability on pickup trucks and SUVs.

"The view is: Everything's got to pay rent," Henderson said, saying every vehicle GM sells must contribute to company profitability.

Henderson, who appears comfortable on-stage and in command of the situation, outlined a four-point GM plan for meeting the White House's requirements for further bailout money:

1) Improve profitability and cash flow.

2) Clean up the balance sheet as much as possible by reducing debt.

3) "Deeper" corporate restructuring.

4) Better efforts and marketing and selling GM vehicles.

Henderson said that a decision on selling or keeping Hummer should be made within days or weeks and that GM is in talks with several parties to buy the big SUV division.

Henderson said he hopes he can get GM to a point where it's not "careening from crisis to crisis." When asked about how he differs from Wagoner, whom he called a mentor and close friend, he noted they both speak Portuguese. He noted it's been a "pretty sad" past two or three days for GM employees, as they watched President Obama fire their boss.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  March 31, 2009; 10:36 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Fritz Henderson, GM, Obama, Rick Wagoner  
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Comments

The biggest drag on GM is the dealerships they need to be cut to 3/4 of their current numbers so thay can compete with Toyota.

Either the dealerships swallow that or its bankruptcy and remove them all.

Posted by: walker1 | March 31, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

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