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GM Catches Flack at Annual Meeting

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From Mac Gordon
June 8, 2013


DETROIT- GM's annual meeting this year was no cheering orgy. To the surprise of most attendees, GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson was treated to a confessional of the No. 1 automaker's marketing and financial problems.

The out-of-sorts Akerson admitted GM was still struggling to boost its market shares, asserting not only it was stuck with an 18 percent market share in the U.S. as it lags behind Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen in boosting new-model introductions.

Akerson put it this way at a media press conference after the annual meeting: “You don't correct all of the systemic problems of a company that went through 39 days of bankruptcy in 39 days of being bankrupt and became a victim of Government Motors.”

Akerson, like other more traditional GM CEOs before him, seemed both to respond to critics of the debuts of such new cars as the Cadillac ATS sedan, Chevrolet Silverado and Buick Verano, but also hail GM's new technologies.

Nor did Akerson get any applause for GM's newly-announced free maintenance program or his hype for restyled 2014 Malibu, Impala and Chevrolet Corvette models.

At age 64, Akerson said he was not leaving GM because he wants to maintain his drive to revamp GM globally, citing the government's $49.5 billion bailout as still requiring the need for updated marketing programs and upgrades of GM dealers from coast to coast.

Why Akerson should keep blaming the federal bailout for GM's plight was an unanswered question at the annual meeting's adjournments.