WHEN: Today, Thursday, November 18th
WHERE: CNBC's "Squawk Box"
Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of Daniel Akerson, General Motors CEO, on CNBC's "Squawk Box" today.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
AKERSON ON BALANCE SHEET:
"We have a pretty good balance sheet right now, we took 11 billion dollars of restructuring action about 2 weeks ago that significantly cleaned up the balance sheet."
AKERSON ON CONSUMER MARKET:
"One of the major thrusts for the next couple of years is to really turn General Motors into a consumer marketing company, we are a company with great engineering and development expertise, but I want to make us more of a consumer marketing company and that's where we will push."
AKERSON ON GM'S GOAL:
"Our goal is to have zero debt on the balance sheet, we are in a highly cyclical industry that has a lot of variability to it, and what's happened over the years, is GM gets into a little bit of a downturn and we start cutting research and development and engineering, so we want to be able to power through these predicable cycles- down cycles and up cycles- and have a consistent approach to it so our objective is to go to zero debt and to the extent possible even pay down our entire pension liability."
AKERSON ON GLOBAL PLATFORM:
"We have about 10% of our cars on global platform today. It’s our objective by 2014 to have about between 55 and 60% and frankly that’s where we want to be."
AKERSON ON WARRANTEE:
"From a quality point of view, we have made market improvements. In fact, when you look at our quality metric the cost of a GM car, ownership from a warrantee point of view has dropped 45% over the last 3 years alone. That’s significant progress and puts us right in with the best quality in the world.”
AKERSON ON MEASURABLE PROGRESS:
"We’re addressing our short comings. I’m not saying we have everything figured out here as you know you don’t fix a company with 102 years of service, 102 year history and a year or 18 months from bankruptcy, but we’ve made measurable, measurable progress in that last year, year and a half.”
AKERSON ON GM'S COMEBACK STORY:
"I think Americans love a comeback story and they always pull for the underdog and maybe it’s odd for people to view General Motors as big as we are as an underdog, but we’re going to play like underdogs and we’re going to compete vigorously.”
AKERSON ON THE HEALTH OF THE INDUSTRY:
"The industry is so much healthier. People aren’t cutting prices and destroying value by diminishing residual values. We’ve been very tight on incentives. We’re right in the pack. We used to be a leader in incentives which is because some of our cars might not have been the quality you would want.”
AKERSON ON MARGIN SHARE PRIORITY:
"Right now, we’re in a good place and we’re pricing for a combination of share, although that is not our first priority, our first priority is margin.” AKERSON ON MARGIN RANGE:
AKERSON ON MARGIN RANGE:
"We've proven that we've been able to make money, we're up about four billion dollars. Should be in the 5-6 billion dollar range for this year. So from the bottom of the cycle we can make money. And that cycle is at about ten and half to eleven -- annual sales in North America. If you looked at it before, the bankruptcy we could only make money if the annual sales rate was at fifteen and a half to sixteen million cars. And so we've taken a lot of cost out of the business and I don't say that with a lot of pride or delight, because I know it caused a lot of damage, retirements, salaries and it's been tough. It's been tough on a lot of people. But we are there. We are much more trim, we are in fighting form. Right now, at the bottom of the cycle we're at the 7-8% margin range, if there's any kind of recovery off of that we think it can go higher."
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