Between the time General Motors left bankruptcy protection in July and the end of September, it lost a mere $1.2 billion--an improvement over previous quarters that suggests the auto giant is turning around. Even stranger is that the auto maker made a profit during the first nine days of the third quarter, aided by the Cash for Clunkers program. Though the company admits that its third-quarter numbers mean little because it didn't comply with U.S. accounting standards—and only cover the quarter after July 10, which is when GM left bankruptcy protection—there is another upside: In December, GM also plans to start payments on its $6.7 billion loan from the federal government, beginning with a $1.2 billion payment.
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