New GM CEO: We'll Get It Done

General Motors ( GM) inched closer to a bankruptcy filing Tuesday as new CEO Fritz Henderson embraced the concept more readily than predecessor Rich Wagoner ever had.

"We will get the job done," Henderson told reporters gathered in Detroit and online. "We will either do it out of court or we will do it in court."

On Monday, Henderson replaced Wagoner, who was forced to resign by the Obama administration's automotive task force.

Not surprisingly, Henderson fully backed the task force's findings that the viability plan GM submitted in February was inadequate and that the company may need bankruptcy protection to reduce its debt sufficiently.

A filing depends on whether the company can gain sufficient concessions from bondholders, the United Auto Workers, suppliers and others by a June 1 deadline.

"Our preference continues to be to use the 60-day period to accomplish this," Henderson said. However, if GM goes to bankruptcy, "We could do that quickly, go in and get out, as opposed to a lengthy process."

The government would provide debtor-in-possession financing during the court process, he said. It is already guaranteeing GM warranties in an effort to ensure that buyers are not scared off by bankruptcy talk.

GM shares were down 32 cents to $2.38 at midday, after falling 25% on Monday. Meanwhile, Ford ( F) was down 7 cents to $2.69.

Henderson said GM may need to close more plants as it seeks to comply with task force findings in four key areas: It must cut costs more deeply. It must clean up its balance sheet, reducing debt obligations for retiree health care and pensions and to bondholders. It must further reduce operations. And it must improve the product mix to maximize revenue.

"Historically, we've relied too heavily on pickups and SUVs," he said.

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