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General Motors Corp's record incentives failed to boost U.S. demand for its Buick and Saturn brands in the first quarter, and the automaker's profit, due to be released today, probably fell, experts said Monday.

GM cut North American production 7.3 percent in the quarter, in part because of slumping sales of Saturn L-Series and Buick Century models. GM offered incentives such as $3,000 off and no-interest loans for as long as five years to try to spur sales.

"We need all hands on deck, and in that sense all of our brands need to contribute," Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner said in a telephone interview. "We need to speak with our products."

Reviving U.S. sales of Buick and Saturn is one of Wagoner's toughest challenges. Sales have fallen a combined 27 percent in the past 10 years. Buick, which has the oldest average owner age of any U.S. brand, 63 years, posted its worst sales in half a century in 2003. New cars from Saturn, profitable only once since its 1990 debut, have fallen short of expectations.

Wagoner is counting on bolstering sales with 64 new and redesigned models in the next three years, twice as many as past years. He's trying to win back U.S. market share from Asian automakers such as Japan's Toyota Motor Corp., and boost earnings to $10 a share in 2006 from $7.14 in 2003. The Buick LaCrosse sedan and Saturn Relay minivan are two new models that will go on sale after July 1.

Wagoner declined to comment on first-quarter profit, but analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial estimated GM's earnings fell to about $949 million, or $1.79 a share. Excluding a gain from an asset sale and results from its former Hughes Electronics unit, profit was $1.84 a share in the year-ago period


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