CEO: Forces beyond Detroit hurting GM

April 19, 2011 at 3:00 PM
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NEW YORK, April 19 (UPI) -- General Motors Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson said the company's recent slide in the stock market was due to forces beyond his control.

"There is a lot of turmoil in the world," Akerson said in New York at the IHS Automotive Forum.

Akerson said the whole industry was knocked for a loop by the March 11 earthquake in Japan, The Detroit News reported Tuesday. "When the crisis first hit … we were all white knuckled," he said.

He also said GM had personnel in Japan within 48 hours of the earthquake to monitor the situation and access disruptions in the automaker's supply chain.

At this point, he said, GM has lined up secondary suppliers for critical electronics components.

Akerson, in the Big Apple for the start of the New York Auto Show, said rising oil prices were also to blame for the company's recent slide from $33 per share at its initial public offering in November to a recent price of $29.27 per share.

Akerson also said the U.S. Treasury Department, charged with divesting the federal government's holdings in the automaker, "will tell you when they are getting out."

The government still owns 26 percent of GM, having taken a substantial position with the company to help it exit from bankruptcy in 2009.

"I don't know what's going to go into their calculus. I think there are many, many variables in their consideration, and they don't share that with us," Akerson said.

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