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Automotive

GM predicts its market share will increase with new products

General-Motors-CEO-Daniel-Akerson

GM's chief executive, Daniel Akerson, said Wednesday that the company anticipates a “modest increase” in its domestic market share from last year's 17.9 percent.

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DETROIT — General Motors Co., the nation's biggest automaker, expects to gain U.S. market share this year after falling to its lowest level in decades in 2012.

GM's chief executive, Daniel Akerson, said Wednesday that the company anticipates a “modest increase” in its domestic market share from last year's 17.9 percent.

It marked the first time since the mid-1940s that GM had slipped below 18 percent.

In a meeting with reporters at GM's headquarters, Mr. Akerson also said the introduction of several new Chevrolet and Cadillac products will pump up sales that had withered in the aftermath of its government bailout and bankruptcy in 2009.

“New products are fundamentally driving the way people and markets perceive our brands,” he said.

Mr. Akerson said the company hoped to reduce its mounting losses in Europe this year but reiterated earlier forecasts that its troubled Opel division would not break even until mid-decade.

He said there were no plans for job cuts or factory closings on the continent, but that GM would continue to cut costs there.

Mr. Akerson said the wind-down of the Treasury Department's ownership stake in GM should free it of the “Government Motors” stigma that alienated some consumers.

“I think it's important for that chapter to close on that part of our history,” he said.

The Treasury Department announced last month that it would sell 200 million of the GM shares owned by taxpayers back to the company, then divest its remaining 300 million shares by early 2014.

Mr. Akerson said he was optimistic that GM will regain its investment-grade credit status this year because of the strength of its balance sheet and $37 billion in cash reserves.

GM stock rose 2 percent to $29.97 on Wednesday, just shy of the 52-week high it set Friday.

The company’s stock has risen steadily since closing at $18.80 on July 25.

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