GM: American Axle Strike Cost $2.82b
Another Friday, another bombshell from The General. Yes, once again, GM waits until the markets head-off for the Hamptons before revealing some bad news. Last time, out it was Rick Wagoner's $14.4m annual pay packet– which was good news for Mr. Wagoner and his heirs, bad news for management accountability. This time it's GM's SEC filing re: the cost of the American Axle strike. And there it is: $2.82b. Automotive News [sub] breaks it down this way: "GM estimated that it suffered a $1.8 billion impact in the second quarter alone. That's on top of $800 million from lost production during the first quarter and another $215 million in assistance GM offered to American Axle to finance employee buy-downs and buyouts." Two-hundred-and-fifteen? Hey, what's $15m between friends? Anyway, the total damage makes the cost of the United Auto Workers (UAW) strikes at two GM plants seem like a bargain, at just $200m. Yesterday, we totally missed that Standard & Poor's upped GM to a "B" rating, five levels below investment grade. Reuters reported "The outlook on GM remains negative, meaning a rating cut is still possible. The risk of a downgrade would increase if GM's lower-than-expected U.S. light-vehicle sales through 2009 result in pushing the company's liquidity toward 'undesirable levels,.'" And the next day, a Friday, GM reveals the hit. Huh.