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GM projects modest improvement in profits for 2013
[January 15, 2013]

GM projects modest improvement in profits for 2013

Jan 15, 2013 (Detroit Free Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- General Motors today projected a slight improvement in its profits in 2013 as the company introduces new products and continues to cut its losses in Europe.

The automaker told analysts at a Deutsche Bank conference in Detroit that it expects its pre-tax global profits "to rise modestly" this year. It did not offer specifics. GM recorded about $4 billion in profit in the first three quarters of 2012.

Although the company has not revealed its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2012, it's almost certain that its profits fell for the year after a record $7.6 billion in 2011.

"2013 is all about setting the stage for improved revenue, market share and profit growth going forward," said Chuck Stevens, chief financial officer of GM North America and GM South America.

GM CEO Dan Akerson said last week that he's expecting a modest improvement in market share this year after the company's share slipped to an 80-year low of 17.9% in 2012.

Stevens warned that market share growth is "not assured." Research firm TrueCar projected on Sunday that GM's market share would fall by 0.3 percentage points this year.

-- VIDEO PLAYLIST: Detroit Auto Show -- LIVE BLOG: Follow all the action from press preview days -- FULL COVERAGE: Visit GM expects to benefit from several key new products, including the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Impala sedan and the Buick Encore crossover. The company is upgrading 70% of its U.S. portfolio in 2012 and 2013. The all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, revealed Sunday night and on display at the North American International Auto Show, is among the high-profile new offerings.

For GM, the full-size pickup truck launch is particularly critical because of the competition in the segment, which includes the best-selling Ford F-150 series and Chrysler Group's Ram, winner of the 2013 North American Truck of the Year award.

"We haven't show our hand on what the engines do," GM North America President Mark Reuss said in an interview.

In Europe, where GM has lost about $16 billion over 13 years, the automaker hopes to cut its losses by one-third to half in 2013.

Some analysts have suggested the company should sell its Germany-based Opel brand -- and a French newspaper reported Monday that GM was discussing a possible deal to transfer Opel to PSA Peugeot Citroen. But Akerson said the brand is "not for sale." Michael Lohscheller, who recently became vice president and chief financial officer of GM's Opel and Vauxhall brands after eight years as a Volkswagen executive, said GM expects to slash $200 million to $300 million in fixed costs in Europe in 2013.

Contact: Nathan Bomey at 313-223-4743 or Follow him on Twitter @NathanBomey.

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