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2013 expensive year for GM, drives down profit

General Motors
GM CEO Mary Barra, with her predecessor Dan Akerson in background

General Motors made $3.77  billion in 2013.

That's a 22% drop from the year before.

GM got hit with a lot of extra costs last year. The company is taking the Chevy brand out of Europe, so it doesn't compete with the automaker's Opel brand, and it's closing a plant in Europe.

GM is also closing its Holden division in Australia. And its taxes went up.

But GM's new CEO Mary Barra tells investors quality is also up.

GM was the highest ranked in initial quality last year, the Impala won best sedan from Consumer Reports, and the Corvette won North American International Car of the Year.

Meanwhile, says Barra, "We have more work to do, and our sense of urgency will not let up one bit."

Barra says the company's product cadence is going well, and the company is no longer on a roller-coaster ride of investing in products in good years, only to see the investment drop off when sales decline.

"It's been a long time since our product and plant teams have been able to work in such a stable funding environment, and believe me, it's a very welcome change," says Barra.

While GM lost money in Europe, and its profit in China fell, profits in North America rose. So union workers in the U.S. will get a bigger profit-sharing check than they did last year – $7,500 versus $6,750.


Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.