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by Tim Beissmann

General Motors reported a $US4.67 billion ($4.62 billion) profit in 2010, representing the automotive giant’s first January-to-December profit since 2004.

The result is a turnaround of more than $US28 billion compared with the previous year. In 2009, GM lost $US23.5 billion as it entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was bailed out by the government.

Revenue was up 30 percent in 2010 to $US135.59 billion.

GM recorded a fourth-quarter net profit of $US510 million, and although it was considerably better than the $US3.52 billion loss in 2009, it was unexpectedly 41 percent below the $US865 profit in the first quarter. Analysts say the loss of financial momentum was brought about by the market’s continued shift from SUVs and pick-ups to smaller cars, as well as increased costs associated with parts and product launches.

Both Ford Motor Co and Chrysler Group also endured their worst three-month results in the fourth quarter of last year.

GM CEO Dan Akerson was cautiously optimistic about the 2010 financial results.

“I’m not sure anyone a year ago would have predicted that GM would deliver net income of $US4.7 billion,” Mr Akerson said, as reported by Automotive News.

“In summary: good start, a lot more work to do.”

GM, like many global automotive manufacturers, will concentrate on smaller vehicles in 2011.

The decision is expected to lead to increased revenue but a decreased margin, as smaller cars are less profitable than larger, more expensive ones. The Chevrolet Sonic (new Holden Barina), Buick Verano and the Chevrolet/Holden Cruze hatch are just three of the small global vehicles planned for launch in 2011.




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