GM’s sparkling second quarter results today (12 August) of US$1.3bn net income on revenue of US33.2bn have been hailed as “tremendous” by a North American auto analyst.

The US automaker’s results represent the largest quarterly profit since 2004 and come on the same day it was announced chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre was to step down.

“This is a tremendous report, let’s put it that way, [it] exceeded all expectations,” IHS Automotive director of North America George Magliano told just-auto. “It is really positive – all the metrics were up.”

Magliano added today’s numbers cemented the outgoing Whitacre’s vision of an IPO of up to US$16bn IPO that could see GM start to edge out of government control.

The company has been labouring under the ‘Government Motors’ nickname of late, with even Whitacre referring to it recently and there are suggestions US customers are avoiding GM purchases because of the bailout by the administration.

“This is how the financial community will set the future for GM,” said Magliano. “The way they [buyers] see it, it is essentially a stigma and until they get the government out, their people will not buy.”

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The analyst added GM’s bankruptcy had lowered costs and provided “give-backs” from the unions but stressed the need for the economic recovery to translate into more volume.

“Unfortunately, while we are doing very well in the US at this low level, we can’t stay at [that] level,” said Magliano.

“We need the recovery to pick up [and] get more volume into the system.”

Whitacre will step down as CEO from 1 September and as chairman at the end of the year, to be succeeded by GM board member Dan Akerson.