On the front of the stock exchange a giant blue GM sign reading "GM NYSE Listed" was posted with a new, silver logo that replaced the familiar GM square logo.
Daniel Akerson, the CEO of GM, arrived at the exchange before the market opened to ring the bell that signals the beginning of the trading day. GM said this morning that it would be accompanied by the sound of a 2011 Chevy Camaro SS engine revving.
"Americans love a comeback story. We're going to play like underdogs," Akerson told CNBC, who added that most of the IPO investors came from North America.
"Today is the birth of a new General Motors," said Union Auto Workers president Bob King, whose union made deep concessions to help GM survive. "It's a dramatically different company poised to be successful."
The automaker raised $20.1 billion on Wednesday by selling its stock to large, institutional buyers eager to get in on its initial public stock offering. When those initial buyers sell GM stock, it can be bought by other investors.
GM CFO Chris Liddell said the company believes it will repay all debt within a few years. The US government, which held a 61 percent stake in GM, initially sold 358 million of its shares. The offering is one of the largest in history and government officials predict the stock will rise at least 10 percent.
In total, GM hopes to raise $23.1 billion, including $5 billion in preferred stock.
GM board members also attended, and will head back after today's events in order to attend an employee celebration at the company's headquarters. The company also said it was planning a major environmental announcement later today.