General Motors on Wednesday said it is revising its first-quarter and calendar-year earnings guidance to reflect lower North American sales and production volumes, a tougher pricing environment, and a more car-based sales mix.

At the same time, the automaker's other automotive regions and finance unit GMAC are all on track to meet or beat their 2005 net income targets.

GM said it now expects to report a loss of approximately $US1.50 per share in the first quarter of 2005, excluding special items, compared to a previous target of break-even or better.

For the calendar year, GM expects to report earnings of approximately $1.00 to $2.00 per share, excluding special items, compared to a previous target of $4.00 to $5.00 per share.

GM will book an after-tax charge of $886 million, or $1.56 per fully diluted share, for the settlement agreement with Fiat SpA in the fourth quarter of 2004.

"Clearly we have significant challenges in North America . The rest of our automotive businesses, and GMAC, are running in line with, or ahead of, our expectations," said GM chairman and chief executive officer Rick Wagoner. "But North America is our biggest business, and the key driver of automotive earnings and cash flow. So it's important that we get this business right."

GM also expects negative operating cash flow in 2005 of approximately $2 billion, before the Fiat settlement and GM Europe restructuring, compared with the previous target of positive $2 billion. This is primarily attributable to lower volumes and decreased net income at GM North America.

GM's 2005 corporate capital spending remains at approximately $8 billion, or $1 billion above 2004 levels.

GM's previous first-quarter earnings guidance was based on North American vehicle- production volume of 1.25 million vehicles. Since then, production schedules have been reduced by approximately 70,000 vehicles.