Global 500 rank: 18
2008 loss ($ millions): $30,860*
The once-monolithic symbol of American industry had hoped that its global expansion could save it from bad times at home. But despite modest gains in Latin America and Asia, a huge drop in GM's North American businesses led to an overall 11% drop in vehicle sales volume and a $21 billion operating loss. Attempts to save itself through closing factories, laying off workers, and selling its financing arm to investors proved to be very expensive, and ultimately not enough to rescue the company.
Though the U.S. Treasury lent GM $13.4 billion at the beginning of this year, the carmaker was still forced to declare bankruptcy in early June. So far, global investors have been there to pick up the pieces: Saab and Hummer were quickly sold to Swedish and Chinese investors, respectively, and Opel, GM's European division, is considering selling an 80% stake to bidders inCanada, China, and Belgium. What's good for GM, an updated version of the old saying might go, may now be good for the rest of the world.
Last updated July 08 2009: 12:11 PM ET
* Also lost money in 2007.