Automotive News Europe
February 4, 2015 14:16 CET
DETROIT -- General Motors said its fourth-quarter pretax profit rose 27 percent to $2.41 billion, its best fourth-quarter result since the 2009 bankruptcy. But the automaker failed to reduce its losses in Europe as headwinds in Russia hit its business.
GM said stronger pricing across its major markets and robust pickup and SUV sales in North America boosted earnings.
However, GM's loss in Europe widened to $393 million from $365 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to a statement.
Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens attributed the losses mostly to trouble in Russia, where a weaker ruble has made it more difficult for consumers to afford new vehicles, hurting sales.
"As we go through 2015, Russia will continue to be a headwind," Stephens said told reporters at GM's headquarters on Wednesday. "But we've taken and will continue to take aggressive action to mitigate those issues."
In Russia GM has laid off workers, plans to shut down its St. Petersburg assembly plant for nearly two months and made pricing adjustments to offset the current devaluation.
GM's full-year loss in Europe widened to $1.37 billion, from $899 million in 2013
. Stevens reiterated GM's goal of returning its European operations to a pretax profit in 2016.
GM has been targeting its first profit in Europe in more than a decade but in December Karl-Thomas Neumann, head of its European and Opel operations, warned that the unit's 2016 profit target was under threat from economic setbacks.
GM's $2.41 billion global pretax profit, which the company believes best reflects its underlying performance, excluded about $900 million in special charges, mostly related to the redemption of outstanding preferred shares. Including those charges, fourth-quarter net income rose 21 percent to $1.11 billion.