General Motors is open to retreating from expensive markets and re-entering the crowded European market.

At a question-and-answer session at the Detroit Automotive Press Association, Mary Barra, GM CEO, told The Detroit Bureau and other outlets the automaker would not hesitate in withdrawing from markets offering little in the way of growth potential.

"If we don’t see a path to generate appropriate returns, we’re going to invest where we see better opportunities," Barra said to journalists.

Above: Mary Barra.

With GM's European operations, including its Opel and Vauxhall brands, now owned and operated by the PSA Group, attendees asked if GM could see itself returning to the Continent.

“Absolutely,” she replied. “Nothing keeps us from going back to Europe."

The company will probably only return to Europe with "transformative products", such as autonomous or electric vehicles.

Although Barra would prefer if the Trump administration didn't scrap or cut back the US$7500 ($9900) federal tax rebate for electric cars – something it's rumoured to be considering – GM will press on with EV development as other regions continue to promote and provide incentives for EVs.

Above: A self-driving Chevrolet Bolt development vehicle.

In the last few years, GM has not only left Europe, it has also mounted a retreat from South Africa, Russia and parts of East Africa. The automaker has also closed its factory in Indonesia, and withdrawn the Chevrolet brand from sale in India.

Locally, Holden closed its factories this year, and reverted to being a full-line importer. The lion brand is hoping grow sales through a model offensive, and co-funding a $200 million upgrade of its dealer network.