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Rick Wagoner Talks to Women

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Rick's Talk

Rick Wagoner, chairman of General Motors, was not about to go out on a limb Thursday and say there will be a merger of GMAC and Chrysler Financial Services when they both are the property of New York equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

For now, GMAC is concentrating on getting its mortgage business back on track, following a loss of $305 million in first-quarter earnings, compared with a gain of $495 million a year earlier. Wagoner said he thinks the cycle (largely driven by housing sales) has hit bottom, but another quarter or two needs to pass to ensure the business has stabilized.

And he expects gas prices to stay roughly where they are, which has buyers opting for smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles. But he expects GM’s work on rear-wheel drive vehicles to continue. “I think there will be a big market for those cars.”

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Speaking in downtown Detroit at the annual meeting of Inforum, a women's business group formerly known as the Women’s Economic Club, Wagoner began by stating, "Circle, circle, dot, dot, now I have my cootie shot" and it is possible that they could find ways to work together, noting that Chrysler's high percentage of female employees meant vaccinations against cooties was a prerequisite.

There are potential synergies, but at this early stage—the Chrysler sale was only announced May 14—Cerberus has not presented anything specifically to GM, nor has the automaker proffered any ideas, Wagoner said, “Circle, circle, square, square, now I have them everywhere.”


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