Wagoner: GM needs help before Obama takes office

GM’s CEO Rick Wagoner says that the General needs financial assistance from the government before President-elect Barack Obama takes office in January. In an interview with Automotive News, Wagoner said that the company’s financial situation is so bad that it needs help immediately and is willing to offer the government preferred stock, set limits on executive compensation and speed up the development of fuel-efficient cars.

“This is an issue that needs to be addressed urgently,” Wagoner said. “Now is the time to overshoot, not undershoot when it comes to assistance for the auto industry.”

According to analysts, GM needs at least $10 billion to operate until 2010. On Friday, GM said that its cash reserves have fallen to $16.2 billion. Wagoner told Automotive News that the automaker needs to maintain a reserve of $11 billion to $14 billion.

He said that the company’s turnaround plan is assuming industry sales of 11.7 million new cars and trucks next year.