General Motors Company Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre announced Wednesday that the company fully paid off over $8 billion in loans to the United States and Canadian governments ahead of schedule.

The loans were paid in full with interest five years ahead of schedule and two months ahead of the timeline Whitacre announced in January. In exchange for the federal loans, the U.S. and Canadian governments took equity stakes in the new GM.

"GM's ability to pay back the loans ahead of schedule is a sign that our plan is working, and that we are on the right track. It is also an important first step toward allowing our stockholders to reduce their equity investments in GM," said Whitacre. "We still have much hard work ahead of us, but we are making progress toward our vision of designing, building, and selling the world's best vehicles."

Whitacre made the announcement at GM's Fairfax, Kansas assembly plant where the company will invest $257 million to build the next generation Chevy Malibu.

In addition, Whitacre announced that the Chevy Volt will go on sale in October, nearly two months earlier than originally scheduled and ahead of its competition, the all-electric Nissan Leaf.