August 12, 2010
Just over a year ago, in the thick of the financial crisis, General Motors collapsed. Decades of indifferent design and too-rich labor contracts had taken their toll on the once-great company, and GM was ushered into bankruptcy by the White House.
A year later there is a newer, sleeker GM. Gone are Pontiac, it's sporty image grown tired; Saturn, which promised a difference and delivered, for a while; Saab, the quirky Swedish cars now sold back to Swedes, Hummer, sent into oblivion; and countless smaller operations and facilities. The new GM has a new model, the Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid. And that's not all that's on offer: GM is planning to sell stock to the public sometime this fall.
Am I the only person who sees a curious parallel between the stock offering from electric car maker Tesla and the coming offer for GM shares? Tesla has sold about 1,000 of its Roadsters (price tag: $100,000 & up), received $465 million in US government funding (that works out to a $400,000 subsidy for each car they have sold to date), and won't have another model to sell until 2011 or 2012. Yet Tesla's stock offering raised $226 million in June. I suspect that GM will offer their shares before the Volt is in customer garages. Why wait? After all, when you order dinner in a restaurant, the menu always sounds good. Once your plate hits the table, your mileage may vary.
Buyers of GM's newly minted shares may be valuing hope over experience. Read the fine print and Caveat Emptor.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).