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GM Places Priority on Paying Down Loans

Stocks in this article: F

DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- The 2010 agenda for the restructured General Motors is to pay back government loans, go public and " make this country proud of this company again," says Mark Reuss, newly appointed president of GM North America.

Reuss and Susan Docherty, the vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing operations, laid out corporate goals on a conference call with reporters Tuesday, in the automaker's first detailed comments on the impact of a management shakeup last week that included the departure of CEO Fritz Henderson.

Both emphasized that the company's most important task, and the path to success, is to make vehicles the public wants to purchase. Reuss noted the company's bankruptcy has "added clarity in the company that we haven't had for a long time."

Docherty said another goal is reducing the level of GM incentives, currently the highest in the auto industry. "We're going to earn our market share, that's where the big difference is," she said. "I'm not proud of the fact that we've been the incentive leader. There's lots of things I'd like to be the leader in and it certainly isn't in incentives."

Another change, she said, is that GM will not chase market share. "We don't want to be in the situation where we're jamming cars into the marketplace (just for share)," she said. "That's bad behavior."

Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre is slated to answer reporters' questions during an online e-mail session Tuesday afternoon. Docherty noted that, while he is not an auto expert, Whitacre is "pretty clear that he wants people to perform." When she recently explained to him that she has a problem because of short supply of a product, "he's pretty clear with me that he expects me to solve it," she said. "I certainly know where I stand in terms of what his expectations are of me."

Shares of fellow U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co.> (F) were down 4 cents at $8.86 in recent trades.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. .

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