A crippling credit crunch and quickening recession hammered American automaker GM last year, which posted a loss of $9.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008.
"2008 was an extremely difficult year for the U.S. and global auto markets, especially the second half," GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said in a press release issued this morning. "These conditions created a very challenging environment for GM and other automakers, and led us to take further aggressive and difficult measures to restructure our business.
"We expect these challenging conditions will continue through 2009, and so we are accelerating our restructuring actions. At the same time, we are continuing our commitment to exciting, fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and the leadership in advanced propulsion technology."
GM's total revenue declined from $180 billion in 2007 to $149 billion last year, resulting in an annual loss of $30.9 billion; 2008 is GM's fourth straight year without a profit. Its U.S. sales declined by 18 percent, or 3 million units, compared to 2007, while global sales fell by 5 percent, or 3.6 million vehicles.
As of December 31, 2008, GM had $14 billion in cash and available assets, including a $4 billion loan from the U.S. Treasury. In December of 2007, GM had $27.3 billion in cash and available assets.
Wagoner will appeal to President Obama's automotive task force leaders Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House economic advisor Larry Summers today in an effort to justify his company's request for another $16.6 billion in aid from the U.S. government.