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GM makes record profit, Toyota kills Scion brand


General Motors announced Wednesday it made a record profit of $7.9 billion in 2015. 

CEO Mary Barra told investors she thinks the good times will continue in 2016 and beyond. 

"There's been a lot written about the U.S. industry being at peak levels and that a downturn is imminent," Barra said. "We like many others do not share this view."

GM's record profit means a record profit-sharing check for UAW hourly workers, as well. Many will get $11,000 in the next month or so.

Also announced Wednesday, Toyota says it will discontinue its Scion brand after years of disappointing sales. The brand was intended to lure younger customers into the Toyota family, but low gas prices have hit Scion hard, along with other brands' small cars.

Fiat Chrysler announced last week it will phase out two of its small cars, the Dodge Dart and the Chrysler 200.

Other automakers are continuing to make small cars despite limited popularity, but they are moving production of the vehicles to Mexico where labor costs are a fraction of those in the U.S.

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.