Tags: gm | chief | worried | europe

GM Chief Worried About 2nd Half Because of Europe

Thursday, 28 June 2012 05:10 PM

General Motors Co., the world’s largest automaker, is worried that Europe’s economic weakness will affect the second half of 2012, the company’s top executive said.

“You can see softness in Europe,” Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson told an audience at the Executives’ Club of Chicago. “If there were a meltdown in the euro, which I don’t think there will be, I think it would be pretty impactful on, certainly, the United States” and China.

Akerson, who oversaw GM regaining its title of world’s largest automaker last year and posting a record full-year profit of $9.19 billion, is pushing the company to boost operating margins and fix its European operations, which have lost $16.4 billion since 1999.

GM, based in Detroit, has reported plans to improve its European results, including proposing to close a factory in Bochum, Germany, by the end of 2016, and forming an alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroen to cooperate on purchasing and vehicle development. The automaker is in talks with Germany unions about the plant shutdown and delaying pay increases.

“It’s tough in Europe,” Akerson said. “I think we’ll be rewarded.”

The executive told reporters after the event that GM’s business plan that runs through 2016 gives the company a “good shot” at profitability. The plan was formally approved Thursday by the supervisory board of its Ruesselsheim, Germany-based Opel unit.

“If you look out five years, I would be disappointed if we couldn’t get to profitability,” he said.

GM rose 0.8 percent to $19.81 at 3:59 p.m. in New York.

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Thursday, 28 June 2012 05:10 PM
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