DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – General Motors is holding its shareholders’ meeting in Detroit for the first time 20 years at the Fisher Theater.

Painful as it was, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson says the bankruptcy set up GM for its rebirth to become a competitive 21st century automaker.

“Let me assure you, no one is doing a victory lap. We have a lot to do, but we have been part of a massive turnaround as a team,” Akerson said.

Akerson said the introduction of the gas-sipping Chevy Cruise and the plug-in Chevy Volt could not have been timed better, as gasoline prices rose to and above its $4 a gallon.

The CEO told reporters before the company’s stockholders meeting Tuesday that the government should have a 10-year plan to cut its roughly $14 trillion deficit. He says that would bring much-needed stability to markets.

Akerson also said he’s concerned about the U.S. government’s high deficit and what he called a jobless economic recovery — and he believes if more jobs are created, more people will buy cars.

He also predicts it will take a long time to shed the excesses of loose credit policies that began in the mid-1990s. The CEO also said GM will sell Cadillac and Chevrolet worldwide, and other brands will be sold by region.

Hear Akerson’s full remarks:

WWJ Automotive Analyst John McElroy thinks GM has a couple of other concerns to address.

“GM’s pension obligations are still grossly under funded; they’ve gotta be addressed,” McElroy said. “At some point, too, I’ve gotta believe the company will start talking about the need to raise the dividend, or institute a dividend.”

Because the government still holds about 30% of GM’s stock, McElroy believes shareholders fear prices could go even lower. GM stock is currently almost 5 dollars below the IPO.

The annual meeting is GM’s first since 2008.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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