GM Takes Umbrage to WSJ Op-Ed Piece

by Christopher Freeburn | May 6, 2013 9:15 am

ChinaFlag[1]The nation’s largest automaker did not take kindly to an op-ed in a leading newspaper[2] that suggested that its expansion into China meant that the U.S. taxpayer bailout that rescued the company in 2009 had actually benefited China.

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, published on Sunday, Selim Bigol, GM‘s (NYSE:GM[3]) vice president for global communications and public policy, alleged that an op-ed by editor Edward Niedermeyer, published by the Journal on May 1, “doesn’t stand up to basic fact-checking.” He noted that GM had a presence in the Chinese market long before the financial crisis and U.S. government bailout.

In his op-ed[4], Niedermeyer noted GM’s recent plans to spend $11 billion building new production facilities in China by 2016. While U.S. taxpayers had bailed GM out of insolvency, China was “disproportionately benefiting” from their pain, he wrote.

In his rebuttal, Bingol notes that the money GM has committed to expansion in China comes from the company’s joint ventures, not from its domestic operations. He added that the company plans to spend $16 billion to upgrade and expand U.S. production facilities during the same period, and has spent $9 billion on U.S. facilities expansion since 2009.

Bingol accused Niedermeyer of “fear mongering” and failing to provide evidence of his claims.

In February, GM announced that it hoped to expand its sales in China by 75% over the next two years and was looking to purchase Chinese automakers[5] to help boost its position in China.

Shares of GM slipped slightly in pre-market trading on Monday morning.

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