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GM Net Goes $3b Into the Red for 3rd Quarter – But Still Beats Expectations

Bottom line hit hard by sale of Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary.

by on Oct.24, 2017

Despite a weak third quarter, analysts are showing appreciation for CEO Barra's strategy.

(This story was corrected to reflect the Q3 2017 EBIT-adjusted income for GM and the Wall Street forecast for the quarter.)

General Motors Co. posted a $2.98 billion loss for the third quarter of 2017, its net income hammered by a $5.4 billion charge resulting from the sale of its long-troubled European subsidiary Opel/Vauxhall.

Before taxes, GM actually earned $2.5 billion, a 32% decline from the $3.7 billion EBIT-adjusted number it reported during the July-September quarter in 2016. But Detroit’s automaker nonetheless managed to beat expectations, delivering per share earnings of $1.32 after factoring for one-time charges. Wall Street analysts had forecast earnings of $1.11 per share.

Financial News!

Excluding the hefty cost of exiting Europe, “The way to really think about the business is obviously continuing operations and the core business,” said GM Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens. Significantly, all of GM’s other operations – including North America, South America, China and other parts of the world — were profitable for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2014.

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GM Agrees to $120m Ignition Switch Scandal Settlement

Money going to 49 states and D.C.

by on Oct.20, 2017

One of the defective GM ignition switch units now blamed for causing at least 124 deaths.

General Motors has agreed to pay out $120 million to settle a lawsuit filed by 49 states and the District of Columbia over its handling of an ignition switch defect linked to at least 124 deaths and 275 injuries.

The problem was revealed in early 2014 and eventually led to the recall of 2.6 million vehicles and the firing of more than a dozen GM employees who either failed to act on early warning signs or attempted to sweep the problem under the carpet.

The Last Word!

“GM will continue ongoing improvements it’s made to ensure the safety of its vehicles,” a spokesman for the automaker said. That includes changes ordered by CEO Mary Barra after the problem was first revealed, as well as efforts that were agreed to as part of a settlement with the federal government in December 2015.

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End of Economic Councils Pose Trouble for Auto Industry

by on Aug.18, 2017

GM CEO Barra enjoyed a laugh with Trump during an automotive summit earlier this year.

Members of another White House advisory council resigned Friday, two days after President Donald Trump tweeted that he was “ending” a pair of economic advisory boards formed after his inauguration. In fact, the CEOs on those boards had voted to disband hours earlier in response to  the controversy over the president’s comments about the rioting in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend.

“General Motors is about unity and inclusion and so am I,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said, in a statement. “Recent events, particularly those in Charlottesville, Virginia, and its aftermath, require that we come together as a country and reinforce values and ideals that unite us – tolerance, inclusion and diversity – and speak against those which divide us – racism, bigotry and any politics based on ethnicity.”

Breaking News!

GM declined to comment when asked whether Barra would have joined the fast-growing list of executives who were quitting in response to the Trump’s comments on Charlottesville, but several company sources said the industry’s first female CEO was caught in a difficult position: needing to publicly express GM’s position on racism and the desire to maintain the close ear of the president. That’s especially significant considering the White House is addressing a wide range of issues that will have serious impact on the auto industry, including federal fuel economy standards and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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Trump Disbands Economic Councils – Could Impact Auto Industry at Critical Time

GM CEO Barra faced growing pressure to resign in wake of president’s Charlottesville comments.

by on Aug.16, 2017

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier with Pres. Trump before he resigned from the council and found himself rebuked in a presidential tweet.

(This story has been updated to include comments from GM CEO Mary Barra on the closing of the economic councils and the controversy over Charlottesville.)

Turning again to Twitter, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he is disbanding two economic advisory groups formed as he entered the White House last January and originally consisting of some of the nation’s top business leaders.

The move came shortly after the well-publicized resignation of an eighth council member, 3M CEO Inge Thulin. While some of the business leaders had resigned earlier in the year, the exodus had ramped up in recent days following a series of controversial remarks the president made regarding the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia as neo-Nazis, KKK members and other White Supremacists marched through the city.

The Inside Story!

Other members of the council faced increasing pressure to resign, as well, including Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors. But several industry insiders said Barra, in particular, faced a perplexing situation. The Trump Administration is considering several measures – including a possible rollback of mileage standards, and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement – that could have substantial impact on GM. As part of the two councils, Barra had unusually good access to the president.

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GM Completes Sale of Opel/Vauxhall to France’s PSA

Detroit maker continues downsized focus on profitable markets.

by on Aug.01, 2017

PSA CEO Carlos Tavares and his GM counterpart Mary Barra celebrate the sale of Opel.

Moving faster than many expected, General Motors has completed the sale of its money-losing European operations to PSA Group, the French automaker’s chairman hailing “the birth of a true European champion today.”

The sale was announced last March and marked a major shift by General Motors away from being a global brand operating in virtually every possible market to one focusing on locales where it can be sure of turning a profit. The long-troubled Opel/Vauxhall unit had last operated in the black in 1999 despite repeated turnaround efforts.

Breaking News!

Itself running deep in the red until earlier in the decade, Parisian-based PSA, the parent of the Peugeot and Citroen brands, has delivered an unexpectedly strong turnaround of its own since the original Peugeot family gave up control of the company and Carlos Tavares was brought on board to run the company.

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GM Earnings Tumble on Weakening U.S. Demand, Sale of European Ops

But numbers manage to beat Wall Street expectations.

by on Jul.25, 2017

GM CEO Mary Barra: "discipline" pays off.

General Motors reported second-quarter net income of $2.4 billion, down about 15% year-over-year, reflecting a variety of headwinds, including weakening U.S. sales, as well as the sale of the maker’s European Opel Vauxhall unit to France’s PSA Group.

On a per-share basis, GM came in at $1.60, though that rose to $1.89 by excluding  one-time charges, well ahead of the $1.68 consensus forecast by automotive analysts polled by FactSet. As a result, the maker’s shares began trading up slightly in early morning trading.

Breaking News!

GM’s declining net earnings came as no surprise, especially considering the ongoing slump in U.S. new vehicle demand. It reported an overall 5% decline in June, continuing this year’s overall downward trend. In recent months, the automaker has voluntarily cut back on low-profit fleet sales, but June’s retail numbers were also down 3% for June.

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Detroit’s Big Three Struggle to Adapt to Rapidly Changing Global Auto Market

Management shake-up at Ford not likely to be the last big announcement from the Motor City this year.

by on May.22, 2017

Ford CEO Fields won't be the last Detroit exec trying to figure out how to address changes coming.

The unexpected ouster of Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields comes as one of the biggest shake-ups Detroit’s Big Three have experienced since they emerged from the Great Recession – and it highlights the challenges they face trying to adapt to a global transformation in what automakers build and how they market those products.

The appointment of Jim Hackett to replace Fields is, however, just the latest in a series of big announcements from Detroit that last week saw Ford announce plans to cut 1,400 salaried workers in North America and Europe, while General Motors said it would stop selling cars in the huge Indian market and sell off operations in South Africa.

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“As the (Detroit) Big Three look out at the landscape, they see dramatic changes coming in the concept of mobility,” says Joe Phillippi, a veteran Wall Street auto analyst and now the lead at AutoTrends Consulting. “They are desperately trying to figure out the future business model and how they will fit in.”

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GM Continues Global Retrenchment; Halting Sales in India, South Africa

Profitability the key goal, not sales, for CEO Barra.

by on May.18, 2017

The Indian automotive market has mushroomed, but GM determined it wouldn't be profitable to remain there.

Long the global automotive leader, General Motors is ramping up its strategy of retrenchment, CEO Mary Barra ordering it to stop selling vehicles in both India and South Africa, as well as the countries in East Africa.

The early Thursday announcement follows earlier moves by Barra, who became the industry’s first female chief executive in January 2014. She pulled out of Russia a year ago and, in March of this year, announced that GM would sell off its long-troubled European Opel/Vauxhall operations to France’s PSA.

We Track the Changes!

“As the industry continues to change, we are transforming our business, establishing GM as a more focused and disciplined company,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “We are committed to deploying capital to higher return initiatives that will enable us to lead in our core business and in the future of personal mobility”

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GM Beats Estimates as Earnings Rise 34%

Pickups, SUVs and CUVs deliver.

by on Apr.28, 2017

Keep on trucking: General Motors' light trucks helped the maker drive a big surge in earnings.

General Motors’ fleet of big pickups and SUVs helped the automaker overcome all obstacles for the first quarter of 2017, earnings rising 34% to handily top Wall Street’s expectations and set a new quarterly record.

With a net income of $2.6 billion, GM was the last of the three Detroit-based automakers to report 1Q earnings and one of two to outperform market forecasts. Only Ford, which was off by 35%, posted a year-over-year decline – though it also benefited from booming demand for high-profit light trucks.

By the Numbers!

“We are executing our plan and it’s delivering results,” Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said during a Friday morning news conference at General Motors headquarters. “This sets us up for another strong year.”

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Barra Brings Home Industry’s Fattest Paycheck

Breaking the glass ceiling paid big reward.

by on Apr.05, 2017

CEO Mary Barra.

The woman who broke Detroit’s glass ceiling is now the best-paid executive – male or female – in the domestic auto industry.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who became the maker’s chief executive officer in 2014 and later its chairman, earned $22.6 million last year. That was actually down $6 million compared to hear 2015 compensation, but still $500,000 more than what Ford CEO Mark Fields brought home, according to federal documents filed by the two carmakers.

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As for Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, he lagged well behind with compensation of “just” $11.99 million for the year. And while numbers haven’t been released for all the major foreign manufacturers, observers say it’s likely Barra will reign supreme across the industry, as U.S. automakers historically have offered significantly higher compensation than overseas competitors.

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