General Motors is preparing for major changes in its European automotive operations, which have lost money for years, officials told a news agency.

“When you’ve got a company that is constantly losing money, obviously changes have got to be made, everybody realises that,” GM vice chairman Bob Lutz told Reuters prior to the New York motor show.

The report noted that GM Europe missed its goal of substantially cutting losses last year, and reported a loss of $US909 million before income taxes and other items while, this year, GM has targeted improved results, expecting earnings of between breakeven to a $100 million profit.

Reuters also noted that Lutz was appointed interim head of GM Europe in February replacing Mike Burns, who quit to become chief executive officer of automotive parts supplier Dana Corp.

Lutz reportedly said he is laying the groundwork in Europe for the arrival of Fritz Henderson, the president of GM Asia Pacific, who will move to take over the European operations on June 1.

Citing GM officials, Reuters said Lutz, who headed Ford’s European operations in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has spent considerable time recently in Europe.

The officials reportedly said that GM has eliminated layers of redundancies and bureaucracy in North America over the past decade, but accomplishing that feat in Europe, including fully integrating the Saab luxury vehicle division with the Opel division, is complicated by Europe’s many languages and currencies.