Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

General Motors Goes Bankrupt

Its massive, gas-loving and highly profitable SUVs were a symbol of the 1990s, that flush and innocent era when oil cost less than $20 bbl. and climate change was just a glint in Al Gore's eye. But the good times couldn't last for the world's biggest automaker, and when General Motors finally fell, it fell hard. After burning through its cash, the company declared bankruptcy on June 1 and was saved only by nearly $60 billion in government aid. GM went bust just like other major companies — see Brothers, Lehman — hit by the worst recession of the postwar era, but GM suffered also for its own mistakes, namely failing to anticipate the shift to smaller and more fuel-efficient cars. Call it an early victim of business-climate change, though with its new plug-in hybrid sedan, Volt, set to hit the streets next year, GM might just turn itself around.