AUTOMOBILES

GM says it is on target with post-bankruptcy restructuring

General Motors says it is on track to complete its restructuring plans but that it faces risks from an uncertain US economy and rising unemployment as it tries to win back consumers.

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AFP - General Motors said Wednesday its restructuring plans were on track as it seeks to return to profitability following a government-backed bankruptcy, but warned that risks remain.

"We are achieving our goals," chief executive officer Fritz Henderson said in a conference call discussing the automaker's progress in the 90 days since it emerged from bankruptcy protection.

"The most important thing we have to work on is how do we win the market and change the culture."

GM hopes to wrap up its restructuring -- including the sale of its Hummer, Saab and Opel brands and the elimination of Saturn and Pontiac -- by the end of the year, Henderson said.

The automaker will show substantial improvements to its cost structure when it presents financial results in November, he added.

Henderson reiterated the automaker's plans to seek an initial public stock offering sometime next year, but cautioned the timing could be affected by overall market conditions.

GM's global market share increased 0.3 points to 11.9 percent in the third quarter when compared with the first half of the year but remains below the 12.4 percent it achieved in 2008.

Its US market share has also shrunk considerably to 19.5 percent from 22.1 percent in 2008, but Henderson expressed high hopes for GM's newly-launched vehicles and said the current results are a percentage point higher than the company had expected as it prepared to file for bankruptcy protection.

In a statement, GM cautioned that "challenges remain."

"These include uncertainty in the rate of recovery of the US economy and the auto industry, the company's ability to continue rebuilding consumer purchase consideration and completing the remaining structuring actions."

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