General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner was upbeat on a conference call with investors yesterday outlining his plan for further recovery at the world's largest automaker in 2007 and beyond. While maintaining GM's policy of not providing specific financial guidance, the company plans to address the 8% decline in U.S. vehicle sales last year by increasing capital spending to between $8.5 and $9 billion in 2007 and 2008 after spending less than $8 billion in 2005 and 2006. The additional spending is expected to help ratchet up GM's line of vehicles and make them more appealing to a larger range of consumers. A new campaign to target the urban, African American population with a souped up, customized version of the Buick Lucerne is one such example of GM's change in marketing strategy. Still, with all the hype being created by Wagoner about how successful 2006 was for the company, GM does not expect to begin generating more cash than it spends in the coming year. During the 12-month period ended yesterday, GM shares appreciated in value by more than 48%.
• Sources: Bloomberg, Wall street Journal, MSN, MarketWatch
• Related commentary: GM's Bob Lutz: "We're Going To Go To Market In a Different Way", Live From the Detroit Auto Show, the 'Big 4' Speak, Wagoner: GM Won't Go Down Without a Fight, GM Wins 2007 North American Car and Truck Awards. Conference call transcripts: General Motors Q3 2006 Earnings Call Transcript
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: General Motors (GM). Competitors: Ford (F), DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Toyota (TM), Honda (HMC), Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY)
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