General Motors Co. reported a 2018 profit of $8 billion, fueled by truck and crossover sales in its home North American market.
The profit compares to a $3.9 billion loss the year before, which stemmed from costs related to a new U.S. tax law as well as divesting its money-losing European operations.
“We navigated significant headwinds in 2018,” Dhivya Suryadevary, GM’s chief financial officer, said in a statement. The full-year profit showed “the earnings resiliency of this company.”
For the fourth quarter, Detroit-based GM posted a profit of $2.04 billion compared with a loss of $5.15 billion a year earlier.
GM relies on pickups and crossovers to generate much of its profit. The automaker has revamped its crossover lineup and redesigned its profitable Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. GM crossover sales exceeded 1 million in the U.S. last year.
As a result, GM got more profit per vehicle, which overcame lower total vehicle sales. The company’s North American deliveries fell 2.4
The company, while profitable, plans to pare operations. GM said last year that five plants in the U.S. and Canada won’t be allocated products by later this year. The moves reflect plunging sales of traditional sedans. The company also is laying off 4,000 salaried workers. GM also is moving to transfer production workers at the affected factories to other plants.
The automaker is making a big bet on autonomous and electric vehicles. There are major uncertainties how quickly such technology will be adopted widely. Thus, GM is trying to maximize truck and crossover profit to fund investments in what it sees as its future.
GM expects continued uncertainty but will “continue” to manage through them, CEO Mary Barra said on a conference call.
GM’s adjusted profit per share for 2018, which excludes some costs was $6.54, down from $6.62 the year before. Fourth-quarter adjusted profit per share was $1.43, down from $1.65 for the same period in 2017.