After ending the first quarter of this year with $35.7b in cash and equivalents, GM was in the best position it’s enjoyed in decades. And yet, with an IPO prospectus looming, The General is seeking a $5b line of credit and trotting out EBITDAPRO as its in-house measure of financial success. Both of these tactics are hallmarks of companies that are doing poorly, and GM has already learned how problematic loading up on debt and sliced-and-diced financials can be. So why is The General inviting criticism from outlets like Edmunds Autoobserver, which characterizes GM’s push towards an IPO as the rebirth of old bad habits? The simple answer: “business execution.” In other words, GM may have a lot of cash, but it’s got nearly as many demands on its resources as well… and these cash drains hardly add up to a coherent strategy.
We knew that production of HUMMER H3 and H3Ts was continuing, as an unnamed fleet buyer has ordered the final batch of 849 units from GM’s Shreveport plant, but that’s not the only Zombie nameplate that GM just can’t seem to kill. Automotive News [sub] reports that 1,037 Saturn Outlooks were built last month “to utilize existing materials” according to GM spokesfolks. According to production stats published at GMI, about 3,000 Saturn Vues were also built in February at GM’s Ramos Arizpe plant in Mexico. Is GM having brand separation anxiety, or are zombie car nameplates as hard to kill as their undead namesakes?