General Motors contributes $4 billion to pension plans

Following through with an earlier pledge, General Motors has now officially contributed a total of $4 billion to its pension funds.

General Motors confirmed today that it has made the previously announced $4 billion cash contribution to its United States hourly and salaried pension plans.

The payment was made not due to a forced timeline, but as a voluntary move by the automaker. Of the $4 billion, $2.7 billion went towards the hourly pension plan and $1.3 billion went to the salaried plan.

"This pension contribution puts us another step closer to our goal of fully funding our pension plans and achieving minimal debt. With a healthy balance sheet, a lower cost structure and focus on revenue generation, we continue to put in place the fundamentals for sustainable success," said Chris Liddell, GM vice chairman and CFO.

General Motors' pension plans continue to be underfunded, but how much exactly is unknown - at least until the end of this month. GM's U.S. pension plans were last remeasured on December 31, 2009 for the 2009 Form 10-K and were underfunded in total by $17.1 billion at that time.

GM says it will next remeasure all of its U.S. pension plans at year end 2010 and their funded status will be included in the 2010 Form 10-K.

GM's U.S. pension plans currently provide benefits to approximately 688,000 participants.