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General Motors narrows its loss in Europe

Results for Europe suggest GM’s cost cuts are starting to offset declining industrywide sales.

Orlin Wagner /Associated Press/File 2013

Results for Europe suggest GM’s cost cuts are starting to offset declining industrywide sales.

DETROIT — General Motors, after losing more than $18 billion in Europe since 1999, narrowed its first-quarter loss in the region, helping it beat analysts’ estimates.

GM’s European adjusted loss before interest and taxes was $175 million, versus $294 million a year earlier. Companywide profit excluding one-time items was 67 cents a share, exceeding the 54-cent average of 16 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

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The results in Europe suggest GM’s cost cuts are starting to offset declining industrywide sales, which are heading toward 20-year lows.

The largest US automaker in the fourth quarter took a $5.2 billion write-down of ­European assets to reflect tougher conditions.

GM’s first-quarter net income fell to $1.18 billion, from $1.32 billion a year earlier. Revenue was $36.9 billion, beating the $36.6 billion average of eight analysts’ estimates.

Profit in North America before interest and taxes slipped to $1.41 billion from $1.64 billion a year earlier.

GM is rolling out about 20 new or refreshed vehicles in the United States this year.

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