The U.S. government’s short stint in the auto business is coming to an end.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday that it will sell its remaining stake in General Motors by early 2014, writing the final chapter of a $50 billion bailout that saved the auto giant but stoked a heated national debate about the government’s role in private industry.

Taxpayers are sure to lose billions of dollars in the deal, even though GM has bounced back from the darkest days of 2008, when it almost ran out of cash.

The company has racked up $16 billion in profits during the past three years and added more than 2,000 American workers. Now GM is looking forward to the day when it can shed the stigma of government ownership and bury the derisive moniker of “Government Motors,” which it says kept customers away from dealerships.