Cleveland, Ohio – General Motors earned $8.1 billion last year, topping Wall Street expectations as profitable truck, SUV, and crossover sales in North America overcame weakness in cars and overseas markets.
The automaker’s contract with the United Auto Workers (UAW) calls for workers to get 1% of North American profits in bonuses, so the company’s 46,000 UAW members will receive $10,750 each. Profit-sharing checks have been large since GM agreed to the pay structure in 2010, but that benefit and all other pay and work rule agreements will be up for negotiation this summer as the union and car company work out a new four-year deal.
This year’s talks promise to be more contentious than the 2015 or 2011 negotiations following GM’s decision late last year to close four U.S. plants and one in Canada, saying the cars and car parts made in those facilities are no longer in demand. The closure plans have drawn sharp criticism, and several members for UAW locals attended Tuesday’s State of the Union address in Washington to draw attention to the upcoming closures.
GM’s earnings show the good and bad of the market. Booming demand for trucks and SUVs has driven profit margins higher, but that trend is mostly limited to North America. South American and Asian results hurt GM’s earnings last year.
“GM delivered another strong year of earnings in a highly volatile environment in 2018. We will continue to make bold decisions to lead the transformation of this industry and drive signifcant shareholder value,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 18 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.