DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co on Wednesday said it is targeting an investment grade credit rating "within the year" as the U.S. automaker works to distance itself from the stigma of its 2009 bankruptcy.

The automaker disclosed the goal in slides posted online ahead of presentations by Chief Executive Dan Akerson and Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann, who are meeting with analysts at the company's test track in Milford, Michigan.

In January, Akerson said he hoped GM would achieve an investment grade credit rating in 2013. That same month, treasurer James Davlin said GM was "trending toward investment grade."

GM went public in the autumn of 2010, after its 2009 bankruptcy restructuring and $49.5 billion U.S.-taxpayer bailout. The bailout led some critics to call the company "Government Motors" and executives said the stigma has hurt sales some.

The company also disclosed in the slides on Wednesday that investors can expect the company's balanced approach to using its cash to continue, with the current focus on new-vehicle launches and turning around its money-losing Europe business.

GM pointed out in the slides that it has used its cash to reinvest in the business, protect what it calls its "fortress balance sheet" and return money to shareholders. The last approach has included spending $5.5 billion last December to buy back shares from the U.S. Treasury.

Last week, Akerson said after GM's annual shareholders meeting that the company would consider dividends on its common stock and further share buybacks, but the current focus was on investing in its operations.

The U.S. Treasury still owns a stake of about 13.8 percent of GM's common shares, but has said it intends to exit its position by April 2014. Some analysts expect that to actually be completed this year.

GM shares were down 1 percent at $33.58 in afternoon trading.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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