President Barack Obama has told Fox News that he isn't opposed to GM using bailout funds from US taxpayers to fund its overseas operations.

"We are not going to meddle in GM's decisions," Obama told Fox.

"They now owe the U.S. government money. We are a shareholder but we are not an active shareholder. We have specifically said that we are not in the business of running a car company."

It has also emerged that the Obama administration's autos task force was caught off guard when GM decided to retain Opel rather than sell to a consortium led by Magna.

Ron Bloom, the US official who heads the autos task force, told Reuters that the surprise change of course by the automaker on Opel underscored the independence of a new board put in place to safeguard the US government's investment in GM.

"We were completely surprised. Our anticipation was that it was going to be approved," Bloom said in an interview with Reuters this week, adding that the the board take their own decisions.

Bloom also said that the US government would like to see an initial public offering from General Motors Co. by the fourth quarter of next year, or 'a little faster'.

A Q4 IPO for GM could come should the company meet its recovery targets and markets are receptive, he said.