Another piece of General Motors' IPO puzzle has been solved: in spite of CEO Ed Whitacre's desire to add a captive finance arm to GM's operations, the company looks set to go without. Acquiring in-house financing always stuck out in Whitacre's aggressive battle plan for getting an IPO done later this year and the hurdles of getting back in with GMAC required untangling enough knots to make King Gordius say, "Skip it..."
Instead, GM will partner with banks that would make the loans to GM customers. Some of those banks are the same ones that GM is working with on a $5 billion credit line, and the idea would be that the banks offering financing would be presented as doing so under the GM banner.
At heart is that in order for GM to unlock its potential, and the potential of the new products it has rolling into showrooms, it needs to be able to finance more customers. Being at the mercy of banks who can choose their own risks means customers leave GM showrooms because they can't get financing or can get a better deal on another car. Also, GMAC won't lend to subprime borrowers. Although they only make up seven percent of GM's target borrowers, in line with other automakers, a seven percent of sales isn't a number you want to leave on the table.
[Source: BusinessWeek | Image: AP/Paul Sakuma/Getty]