With the launch of its initial public offering today, General Motors Co. is taking a significant step toward shedding the “Government Motors” label it inherited after taking $49.5 billion in federal aid, the auto maker’s top executive says. “I’d say the average taxpayer looks at this particular transition as very positive, and we’re seeing that,” CEO Dan Akerson says in a conference call with analysts and journalists shortly after the auto maker’s stock hit the big board in New York. “But ...

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