We were on General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson's teleconference with reporters this morning, and while the proceedings were light on revelatory news (okay, there really wasn't any), some important things were clarified:
Namely, Henderson denied that the company has reached a decision on whether to pursue bankruptcy, and officials are still hard at work on a two-track strategy (one with, and one without), with the company's preference still being to keep matters out of the courts. When it comes time to make a decision (June 1), Henderson admitted that "The Treasury would be a key player in that decision," though he didn't rule out his company's own role as being part of the process.
Additionally, Henderson said that the company is still pursuing a "four-core brand strategy," meaning that it plans to keep Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC, with Pontiac still in the mix as a niche brand. Henderson called both GMC and Buick "very profitable," and added that some of the products that GM has in its pipeline that it is most excited about are slated to carry the Buick badge. When asked point blank as to the security of the two brands, however, he declined to guarantee survival of any particular marque in the company's portfolio.
Henderson all but confirmed that the company plans to keep the likewise "highly profitable A.C. Delco parts business, but he acknowledged that a decision looms for Hummer, with final bids from three purchasers expected by next week. The company expects to make a sale decision on the SUV brand by month's end.
In regards to Saab, the GM CEO reiterated that a number of parties are interested in the Swedish brand, and that their "books are open" to serious bidders. Unsurprisingly, Henderson also acknowledged that it is pursuing buyers for Saturn, but he denied that there was only one serious bidder in the mix.
On its European front, Henderson says that "well more than six" parties have expressed interest in Opel, which he characterized as financial and industry players. Henderson said GM expects work to get done within the next two-to-three weeks, and he acknowledged that Germany's cash-for-clunkers and the early success for the new Insignia have helped liquidity issues. As such, Opel can now evidently sustain itself through late in the second quarter, if not further.
[Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]