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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Auto Industry Is Alive and Relevant -- General Motors CEO Dan Akerson Speaks in S.F.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Dan Akerson - MARK FINKENSTAEDT
  • Mark Finkenstaedt
  • Dan Akerson

When Dan Akerson joined the General Motors Board of Directors in 2009, GM was being propped up by about $42 billion in federal money. By the time he became CEO in 2010, the company was emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and raised $20.1 billion in an IPO. Akerson speaks Wednesday at the Commonwealth Club, as GM's fall and rise has become a major topic in the presidential campaign. President Obama, in his January State of the Union address, referred to the bailouts as a bet -- one that paid off for the crippled American auto industry. Obama has thrown that back at Republicans who criticize his economic recovery plan.

It was a major issue leading up to last week's Michigan primary, particularly for Mitt Romney, who wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times in 2008 denouncing the auto bailouts and has had a hard time explaining himself since. As for GM and its future, it's been a rough start for the all-electric Chevy Volt, which has sparked controversy after critics pointed out safety concerns as well as instances of battery fire. So it's up to GM to prove it didn't use the federal bailout money to create a clean-energy Edsel in an effort to keep the American auto industry on top. Those of you who love GM might want to show your support in a different way than bringing your Cadillac Escalade. Public transportation is advised, as parking is limited.

Dan Akerson speaks at 6 p.m. Wednesday (March 6) at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market (at Second St.), S.F.; admission is $10-$20

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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