Image from flickr user D'Arcy Norman
After today's annual report, I don't think there's any question of GM's staying out of bankruptcy. The company's revenue fell from $180 billion in 2007 to $149 billion in 2008, with the worst crash in the fourth quarter. Car sales have continued to plunge into the new year. The company's current asset position continues to deteriorate by about $2 billion a quarter even with massive Federal injections of cash. With cash & equivalents now down to just over $14 billion, they can't go on this way for much longer. Though no one knows exactly how much working capital the company needs on hand at any time, the estimates tend to fall around $10 billion. Dip below that, and they'll rapidly be catapulted into insolvency.
But don't take my word for it--listen to their auditors:
GM warned last month that its auditors, Deloitte & Touche, could raise those concerns, but the announcement underscored the stakes for G.M. as it sought up to $30 billion in government aid to restructure with a bankruptcy filing."Our recurring losses from operations, stockholders' deficit and inability to generate sufficient cash flow to meet our obligations and sustain our operations raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern," the company said in the filing.
GM has burned through $13.4 billion in less than six months. What will $30 billion buy us? Another year, at best, with no signs of a turnaround in the market for cars. Autos, like other big consumer durables, are especially sensitive to downturns like this. There's only so much food you can cut out of the budget, but you can certainly drive the 2001 Grand Caravan for another year.