Old GM comes to end of road

The end is near for the remnants of the 102-year-old General Motors Corp. A federal bankruptcy judge is expected to give final approval today to the liquidation plan of the "Old GM," known officially as Motors Liquidation Co. It will mean some compensation for bondholders who lost billions in the bankruptcy and clear the way for a massive environmental reclamation program at polluted GM sites.

"It's time to bury the past and it put it away, said David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor and son of a former GM president.

"As long as an old GM is around, it's going to cause a memory of a past era. The symbolism is really quite important. We need to move on with the future."

Today's hearing before Judge Robert Gerber comes almost 21 months since the Detroit automaker filed for bankruptcy in the same court, as part of a $50 billion government bailout and restructuring.

The new GM was created from some of the "good" assets of the old GM, as a government-sponsored company. It emerged in July 2009 after just 40 days in bankruptcy.

Because the automaker uses the same facilities, trademarks and websites, most people have little idea that today's GM is less than 2 years old as a new company. Its stock was publicly traded for the first time in November.

The new GM was able to leave behind tens of billions of dollars in liabilities from asbestos claims, environmental claims and unpaid bills and loans. The old stockholders are got royally screwed.

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