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For General Motors Co. (NYSE:GMC), Tuesday’s earnings report included several positive sets of numbers to balance the fact the company’s net income fell 2.7% to $9.43 billion last year.

Among the yearly records noted was a pretax adjusted earnings total of $12.9 billion. And there was more.


Records Were Set

GM also had record earnings per share of $6 for the year, an adjusted pretax margin of 7.5%, revenue of $166.4 billion and North American adjusted pretax earnings of $12 billion. Revenue grew 9.2% versus 2015. These records are all since the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 as a new entity.

This led GM Chairman and CEO, Marry Barra to say, “By almost any measure, 2016 was a great year for our business and I am confident we can achieve even stronger results.” Barra added, “We’ll work to build on our momentum, while continuing to drive our company to innovate and shape the future of mobility.”

Europe Not So Much

The good news overall, especially in North America, was offset somewhat by the company’s failure, once again, to turn a profit in Europe. Brexit has not helped thanks to a weakening of the pound sterling. The company lost $257 million pretax which was still better than the 2015 pretax loss of $813 million.

GM Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said the company hopes to break-even in Europe in 2018. That’s 2018, not 2017 where Stevens said Brexit would still cost the company $300 million and lead to a flat performance in Europe for this year.

Elsewhere Results Were Mixed

GM sold 3.04 million vehicles in the U.S. last year, down 1.3% from 2015. Still the company is selling vehicles for higher prices thanks to better sales of large vehicles and a reduced emphasis on selling to rental agencies versus individuals.

Once again GM lost money in South America, $374 million pretax but also better than the $622 million it lost there in 2015. China, GM’s largest market resulted in sales of 3.87 million vehicles. Sales in China were up 7.1% in 2016. GM said it made $2 billion in equity income in China in 2016, about the same as in 2015.


Compared To The Competition

General Motors was the last of the Detroit 3 to report. Last month Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:FC) reported $4.5 billion in net income for 2016. Adjusted pretax income was $10.4 billion. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) reported $1.9 billion in net income.

GM’s somewhat optimistic outlook looks better than Ford which said last month it expected “generally lower” results for 2017.

With so much riding on North America the uncertainty of President Trump’s promise to implement a border tax weighs on automobile executives, analysts and investors alike. Concern that a border tax could result in higher prices and lower sales will continue until the matter is fully resolved.

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