Like a child who grows too big to tolerate an embarrassing nickname, GM (NYSE:GM) appears ready to stare down name-callers who speak the “Government Motors” moniker. Between its strong sales data, investment in new cars, improved public image and return of stock prices to IPO levels, the signs point to a bona fide General Motors revival.
The news has been almost entirely positive for GM over the past year, in which stock prices surged more than 50 percent to reach the level of its November 2010 IPO while sales increase domestically and overseas. It’s safe to say the company benefited from the positive exposure during the 2012 presidential election, when President Obama brandished the success of Detroit automakers like a weapon against opponent Mitt Romney. Clearly, Americans felt good about the Detroit comeback and voted accordingly.
Success for General Motors and Ford (NYSE:F) meant the administration’s economic policies were working, including the bailout and loans handed to the automakers by the government. Those days of government attachment appear to be over (and happily so) for GM, as the Treasury department continues dumping company stock and expects to exit completely by early next year. Once that happens, GM will be eligible to return to the S&P 500.
Of course, the company’s success will only continue if it makes its customers happy enough to become repeat customers. The satisfaction levels for GM are among their highest levels ever, due to a concerted effort by the company to bring back customers and get them dreaming about Detroit cars the way they did in the Big 3′s heyday. J.D. Power’s Customer Service index shows Cadillac, Buick and GMC all scoring in the top three of their respective categories in customer estimation.
In another display of GM’s return to form, real estate developers are planning a car condominium project on the site of a former GM plant in Pontiac, Michigan. Car enthusiasts will be able to house their car collections and enjoy the comforts of a country club while entertaining guests at the proposed site. Automakers hope they will see some of the new Corvettes to go along with the classic versions bound to pop up in the condos in Pontiac. GM is poised to celebrate a legitimate revival.