Despite ending the year with disappointing sales results in Europe, General Motors (NYSE:GM) is making this year a building year, one that will “set the stage for enhanced profitability in the coming years,” as North America finance chief Chuck Stevens explained to The Wall Street Journal.
In the last month of 2012, new car sales in the European Union shrank by the greatest amount since October 2010, with the number of new car registrations decreasing 16.3 percent in December to 799,407 vehicles. The figures were only slightly better for the year. Annual car sales volumes in Europe dropped 8.2 percent to 12.05 million vehicles in 2012, according to the European automotive industry association ACEA, and within the euro zone, the numbers were even worse; sales fell 11.3 percent to just under 9 million for the year, according to Reuters’ calculations.
New austerity measures have pushed unemployment to a record high of almost 12 percent and indebted banks have not made automobile loans easy for consumers to secure, creating a problem for the automotive industry. Of all the major manufacturers, General Motors and Ford (NYSE:F) suffered some of the biggest sales drops; both companies saw decreases of 27 percent for the month.
But GM is focused on 2013.