This morning, General Motors Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre confirmed that the company has paid back a total of $5.8 billion in federal loans a full five years ahead of schedule. Whitacre attributed the company's ability to make the payment, with interest, to its new strategy and the success of new models like the Buick Lacrosse and Chevrolet Malibu.

GM received some $50 billion in loans from both the U.S. and Canadian governments, with the majority of those funds converted into company stock. The remainder totaled over $8 billion owed to the U.S. and Canadian governments, all of which has now been paid back less than a year after GM emerged from bankruptcy. The news was announced at a press conference at the company's Fairfax, Kansas manufacturing facility, which will soon add production of the hot-selling Chevrolet Malibu, and was attended by Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson and other members of government.

As it is, the federal government still owns 60.8 percent of GM, which means that whenever the company issues its IPO, the tax payers could easily get all of their money back.

[Image: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty]
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GM Pays Back Government Loans in Full, Announces Investment in Fairfax, Detroit Hamtramck


o GM pays back its loans from U.S. Treasury and Export Development Canada
o Strong sales, confident outlook enable payback ahead of schedule
o $257 million investment for Malibu at Fairfax, Kansas, and Detroit Hamtramck

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – General Motors Company Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre today announced that GM has made its final payment of $5.8 billion to the U.S. Treasury and Export Development Canada, paying back its government loans in full, ahead of schedule.

The announcement came at a ceremony here to highlight an investment of $257 million at GM's Fairfax, Kansas, and Detroit Hamtramck assembly centers. The investment will prepare Fairfax to build the next generation of Chevrolet's award-winning Malibu, and make Detroit Hamtramck a second source for Malibu, ensuring that Chevrolet can meet market demand for this popular mid-size sedan.

"GM is able to repay the taxpayers in full, with interest, ahead of schedule, because more customers are buying vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse we build here in Fairfax," said Whitacre. "We are now building some of the best cars, trucks, and crossovers we have ever built, and customers are taking note. Our dealers are increasing their sales, we are investing in our plants, and we are restoring and creating jobs."

The U.S., Canadian, and Ontario governments, as part of the launch of the new GM, provided loans of $8.4 billion and took equity stakes in the new company. Today's payment of $5.8 billion ($4.7 billion to the U.S. Treasury and $C1.1 billion to Export Development Canada) completes the payback of these loans.

"GM's ability to pay back the loans ahead of schedule is a sign that our plan is working, and that we are on the right track. It is also an important first step toward allowing our stockholders to reduce their equity investments in GM," said Whitacre. "We still have much hard work ahead of us, but we are making progress toward our vision of designing, building, and selling the world's best vehicles.

"We appreciate the support the taxpayers have given GM, and our great new products are tangible results of that support."

Strong sales support manufacturing, jobs


Strong sales of new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac products are fueling a steady increase in production as GM works to meet growing customer demand.

Sales for GM's four brands are up 36 percent through March versus the same period in 2009, and many newly introduced cars and crossovers – including Chevy Equinox, Camaro and Traverse; GMC Terrain and Acadia; Buick LaCrosse; and Cadillac SRX – remain in short supply at GM dealers.

The Fairfax plant currently builds two of GM's strongest selling cars, the Chevy Malibu and Buick LaCrosse. For the first three months of this year, GM's U.S. dealers delivered more than 49,000 Malibus and 14,000 LaCrosses, representing a 58 percent increase over the same period last year. In response to this strong demand, Fairfax in February added a third shift of approximately 1,050 jobs, bringing total employment at the plant to more than 3,800.

Fairfax will become the primary source for the next generation of the Malibu. Detroit Hamtramck, which builds the Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS, will be equipped to build the Malibu as well, ensuring that Chevrolet can meet market demand.

Detroit Hamtramck will also build the Chevy Volt electric vehicle with extended range, which launches this year. On March 31, the plant celebrated a major milestone, the building of the first pre-production Volt on the regular assembly line.

The Malibu-related investments of $136 million in Fairfax and $121 million in Detroit Hamtramck will include facilities, machinery and equipment, and tools.

Since the launch of the new GM last July, the company has announced investments of more than $1.5 billion at 20 facilities in the U.S. and Canada. These investments restored or created more than 7,500 jobs, and they demonstrate a strong commitment to GM's future and to the United States and Canada.