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Post-Bankruptcy, GM CEO Pledges New Course

After the announcement that General Motors Corp. had completed its 40-day stay under bankruptcy protection, CEO Fritz Henderson speaks to Judy Woodruff about the company's goals for remaking the struggling auto maker.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    General Motors entered a new era today. The reorganized automaker officially ended its journey through bankruptcy.

    Judy Woodruff has our lead story report.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    General Motors emerged from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process after just 40 days and after leaving behind billions of dollars in debt.

    Lawyers labored through the night with a stack of legal documents two feet high. They cleared the way to sell the Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC brands, and other assets, to a new G.M. with the government as majority owner.

    The company is shedding Hummer, Saturn, Saab, and Pontiac, which are being sold or closed down.

    In Detroit, G.M. Chief Executive Fritz Henderson said it's a more streamlined company with a "rare second chance".

  • FRITZ HENDERSON, CEO, General Motors:

    G.M. has what it takes to excel, but with no interest whatsoever today in making excuses nor in debating the past. We need to be accountable for this.

    From this point on, our efforts are dedicated to customers, cars, culture, and paying back the taxpayers. It's about creating value so that sacrifices that are being made, which are immense, are worth it, and people get the maximum recoveries, and General Motors can be great again.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Henderson said the new G.M. plans to make a profit by making better vehicles, and he voiced hopes of repaying $50 billion in federal loans ahead of a 2015 deadline.

    To help reach that goal, the reorganization will cut more than 6,000 white-collar jobs this year. Overall, G.M. will employ 64,000 American workers by year's end; that's down from 91,000 at the end of last year. And those left have agreed to major concessions to cut labor costs.

    G.M. has also cut ties to 2,400 dealerships across the country.

    I spoke with the company's CEO, Fritz Henderson, this afternoon.

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