“Until G.M. has repaid the taxpayers in full for the money they have borrowed, every action that G.M. takes should advance them in that direction,” said Kurt Bardella, a spokesman for Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican of California who is a visible G.M. second-guesser.
Last month, Mr. Issa was among a multitude of critics who took issue with another G.M. marketing effort — the running of self-congratulatory advertisements about having repaid a government loan. (Taxpayers still own $2.1 billion in preferred stock of G.M. and 61 percent of its common equity.)
“The leadership thought it (awarding Galarraga the car) was an excellent opportunity,” Chevrolet spokesman Klaus-Peter Martin said. “We looked into the cost-benefit ratio and decided to go for it.”
Mr. Bardella, the spokesman for the congressman, said he hoped that was true and noted that many people would be watching.
“If you were to ask the majority of taxpayers — outside of the city of Detroit, probably — if they thought that giving a $50,000 car away for free was a good use of money, I’m sure that most people would say no,” he said. “If it creates the perception of good will and a solvent company and encourages people to buy their cars, then great. Is it something they should do every day? Probably not.”