Mixed results for carmakers

GENERAL Motors recorded its highest ever profit of $7.6 billion in 2011, a remarkable result for a company that had to be saved by the US government in 2008. The world’s largest carmaker is still partially owned by the US government with 31.96 percent of shares.

GENERAL Motors recorded its highest ever profit of $7.6 billion in 2011, a remarkable result for a company that had to be saved by the US government in 2008. The world’s largest carmaker is still partially owned by the US government with 31.96 percent of shares.

While the company did well in the US, its South American and European branches recorded losses of $100 million and $700 million respectively.

General Motor's European operations, Opel/Vauxhall, nearly sold in 2008, returned to the spotlight just days after the 2011 results were announced when it emerged that GM was in advanced talks with the French carmaker PSA (Peugeot-Citroen).

PSA, the second largest European carmaker, announced its asset-disposal programme as it recorded a €3.4-billion net debt at the end of 2011.

A GM-PSA alliance would help both struggling companies to compete with the European leader – Volkswagen. The Wolfsburg-based German carmaker reported an €11.3-billion operating profit in 2011 as its worldwide sales surged 14.7 percent to 8.3 million units.

Meanwhile, Mazda, the fifth largest Japanese car manufacturer, said it was looking for strategic partners and, according to its CEO Takashi Yamanouchi, is willing to consider “every option” that does not include a capital alliance. Mazda generated its fourth annual loss in a row as its fortunes depend on exports that have been hurt by a strong yen. It will seek to raise JPY100 billion ($1.25 billion) in a new share issue.

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