U.S. sells remaining General Motors stake, taxpayers lose US$10.5-billion

Financial Post | Business

DETROIT — The U.S. government ended up losing US$10.5 billion on the General Motors bailout, but it says the alternative would have been far worse.

The Treasury Department sold its final shares of the Detroit auto giant on Monday, recovering US$39 billion of the US$49.5 billion it spent to save the dying automaker at the height of the financial crisis five years ago.

Without the bailout, the country would have lost more than a million jobs, and the economy could have slipped from recession into a depression, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said on a conference call with reporters.

Now, the American auto industry is back, President Barack Obama said in a statement. “Some of the most high-tech, fuel-efficient cars in the world are once again designed, engineered, and built right here in America — and the rest of the world is buying more of them than ever before,” he said.

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