GM ducks question about moving HQ

May 11, 2009

GM ducks question about moving HQ

By TIM HIGGINS
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Is General Motors thinking about moving its corporate headquarters from Detroit?
GM CEO Fritz Henderson didn’t rule out the idea today in a conference call with reporters.

 

He stressed that there wasn’t a plan currently to do so but noted that the struggling automaker is looking at every idea to improve its business.
 

“We’re looking, frankly, at everything within our business but it’s not like we have that queued up at the top of our list. As we look at the structure, look at the business, we’re looking at everything,” Henderson said. “At this point, I don’t really have anything to report. Our headquarters is here, we’ve got a fairly large compliment of people here. And we’re proud to be here.”
 

Henderson added: “We don’t have … such plans but if we did, it would be motivated by business rationale, which would be cost, efficiency and speed.”
 

GM faces a June 1 deadline to restructure its debt or face bankruptcy. The company is staying afloat on a $15.4 billion federal loan and has said it needs another $11.6 billion to keep operating.
 

Henderson said that it is still more probable that GM will file for bankruptcy but he noted there is still an opportunity to restructure outside of court.
 

Later this week, GM plans to begin notifying its dealers about which ones will not be receiving any new GM vehicles, Henderson said.
 

It will be an “orderly wind down,” he said, with GM working dealers to bring down inventories. He stressed it wouldn’t be a one- or two-month process but something that will be worked on through 2009.
 

“We’re going to try to do the right thing for our customers,” he said.
 

The CEO said it was premature to say which plants will be closed as part of the company’s stepped-up restructuring efforts. Negotiations between the UAW and GM, which are ongoing, are expected to heat up this week.
 

He said the company is in negotiations with two interested parties for Hummer and he hopes to have a deal concluded by the end of the month.
 

GM also has interested parties for its Saturn division. He expects the future of Saab will become clear over the next month or two.
 

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