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US Ends Its Ownership Stake in General Motors

A banner hangs at the front of the General Motors Co world headquarters announcing GM's return to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Detroit, Michigan, Nov. 18, 2010.
The United States has ended its ownership stake in General Motors, five years after bailing out the world's second-biggest automaker to keep it from collapsing.

The government sold its last shares in GM Monday, with U.S. taxpayers overall losing $10 billion of the more than $49 billion the government handed the company during the depths of the country's economic downturn in 2008 and 2009.

The U.S. bailout of General Motors and automaker Chrysler was controversial at the time, with opponents derisively calling GM Government Motors. Chrysler has fully repaid its more than $10 billion bailout, while the government has recouped $433 billion on the $422 billion bailout of insurance giant American International Group.

Despite the loss on the GM rescue, U.S. President Barack Obama said the country's auto industry was preserved by the bailout. One study of the industry said the government's bailout of the two automakers saved more than four million jobs in 2009 and 2010, those at GM and Chrysler, as well as those at their parts suppliers.

Obama said the government investment was well worth it. He said the country "bet on what was true: the ingenuity and resilience of the proud, hardworking men and women who make this country strong. Today, that bet has paid off. The American auto industry is back."

The president said GM, Chrysler and Ford, a third auto manufacturer that did not take a bailout, are all profitable for the first time in nearly a decade.

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