Business

General Motors reports 2 Percent Lift in Quarterly Earnings

DETROIT — General Motors Co., the largest US automaker, earned $913 million in the fourth quarter, a 2 percent gain from a year earlier.

The company said its global vehicle sales rose 5 percent, but earnings were depressed by restructuring charges, including $691 million related to its decision to drop plans to sell Chevrolets in Europe.

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Revenue increased 3 percent to $40.5 billion.

For the full year, net income was $3.77 billion, a 22 percent decline from 2012. Revenue for 2013 was $155.4 billion, up from $152.3 billion the previous year.

The quarter capped an eventful year for the company, which included the government’s selling off the last of its GM stock and the appointment of Mary T. Barra as its chief executive.

Special charges in the fourth quarter depressed its net income by about $200 million. Charges related to dropping the Chevrolet brand in Europe and ending production in Australia were offset by tax gains and the sale of GM’s stake in Ally Financial.

GM sold 2.46 million vehicles worldwide in the quarter, compared with 2.34 million in the period a year earlier.

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Barra called the full-year results solid and said restructuring changes have prepared GM to improve its overall performance: “The tough decisions made during the year will further strengthen our operations. “We’re now in execution mode, and our sole focus will be on delivering results on a global basis.”

Analysts said GM is well-positioned for growth this year but it needs to maintain its profit margins in the most competitive market segments.

“GM’s biggest challenge in North America will be their approach to production and incentives, especially if industry sales volume falls short of expectations,” said Alec Gutierrez, an analyst with the auto research firm Kelley Blue Book.

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