The 'New' General Motors Disappoints
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There have been plenty of disappointing IPOs in the recent past.
Much has been written about Facebook(FB) and the aftermath of its offering, and I suspect there will be much more to come on that one.
Facebook shares are down 43% from their offering price, but it's not the worst of the bunch.
But forget these once-hyped Internet businesses, because one of the most disappointing "IPOs" in recent years was for a much more traditional company: General Motors(GM) . I struggle to even count GM's stock offering as an IPO, but that's what it was.
It's less than two years since November 2010, when shares of the "new" General Motors were offered at $33 amid much fanfare.
The offering marked a fresh start for the company following its government bailout, an unprecedented and controversial event in which bondholders were shoved aside, losing their natural place in the capital structure. GM shares are down 38% since the IPO, but some of the smart money continues to tout and buy the stock.
I'm not a believer, even though my GM roots run very deep. My grandfather was a master heat treater at a New Jersey GM plant for 38 years. For a number of years, we drove nothing but Chevys; that is until the quality got real bad (think 1978 Chevette).
By then my grandfather had retired, but that was long before the money was really good as a result of bloated union contracts. He worked for a different GM.
During World War II, his plant changed from making car parts to making airplanes -- no small undertaking. In 1942, the plant could turn out one Grumman Avenger each day. By the end of the war, it had delivered thousands of this successful torpedo bomber to the U.S. Navy. This is the kind of ingenuity that helped the U.S. and its allies win the war. Many U.S. manufacturers played a role, and GM's contributions -- and those of its employees -- were huge.
Today's GM still faces struggles, even though the quality of its products has improved a lot since the late 1970s and 1980s.
Although its vehicle lineup has shrunken considerably, which is a positive, the company still lacks a killer product. The resale values of GM vehicles pale in comparison to those made by Honda Motor(HMC) , Toyota Motor(TM) or Mazda.