DETROIT -- A General Motors Co. ad that said the automaker had repaid U.S. loans, sparking Republican criticism and a regulatory complaint, succeeded in repairing GM's image with some consumers. Surveys by YouGov, a London company that measures public perception of businesses, showed U.S. consumers have a more favorable view of GM since CEO Ed Whitacre's ad proclaimed repayment "in full, with interest, five years ahead of schedule." GM now has a stronger image than Toyota Motor Corp. and has gained ground on Ford Motor Co.
Strategic Vision, a San Diego marketing research firm, found the ad had mixed results in its survey of consumers who own or are shopping for a new car. About half said the ad showed GM is making progress. The other half didn't believe GM had paid off the loans or they didn't identify with Whitacre.