A Word About GM’s IPO

There’s something that seems to get lost in all of the jubilation about GM getting back into the equity market.

There’s something that seems to get lost in all of the jubilation about GM getting back into the equity market. Prior to the event last Wednesday, Chris Liddell, GM vice chairman and chief financial officer, said, “We are especially appreciative of those who stood by us through the toughest times, and we are dedicated to creating value for all of our stakeholders.”

There are plenty of people—just regular people, not institutions—who had owned GM stock prior to the bankruptcy filing who are left with what amounts to worthless paper.

They had stood behind GM.

So high-fives notwithstanding, the executives who are in charge of GM right now really need to own up to the fact that they are running a corporation that had let down a tremendous number of people, a corporation that broke promises left, right a center, a corporation that was more arrogant than it was big—and it was plenty big.

G  Shiny, happy GM execs at the end of the first day of trading: (l to r) Stephen Girsky, vice chairman; Mark Reuss, North America president; Tom Stephens, vice chairman; Tim Lee, International Operations president.  (photo: John F. Martin for GM)

They need to make cars and trucks that really are the world’s best, not the “world’s best” as defined by some dictionary that had been available only in some now-shuttered store in the Renaissance Center.

Yes, they should be pleased with the market’s response to their offering. Yes, they should be happy that the Chevrolet Volt was named both the Motor Trend and the Automobile Magazine Car of the Year.

But a few days on the market and a couple of awards for a low-volume vehicle does not spell “success.”

And maybe the executives ought to look that word up. In a real dictionary, not the one that was used for too long.