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March 4, 2003

SWITZERLAND: GM Europe outlook still gloomy as another annual loss threatens

General Motors European division may not reach its target of breaking even this year and may lose as much as 200 million euros ($US218 million), the chief of the company's European operations said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

By bcusack

General Motors European division may not reach its target of breaking even this year and may lose as much as 200 million euros ($US218 million), the chief of the company’s European operations said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

“We’re still trying to get to break-even in 2003…We have a range of about a 200 million loss to break-even,” Mike Burns told reporters at the Geneva motor show, Reuters said.

The news agency said GM Europe has posted heavy losses in the past two years as it struggles with a morose economy in Germany, its biggest market in the region, and competitive pressure on its mass-market brand Opel. To boost its fortunes, the world’s biggest carmaker is counting on cost savings and a strong take-up for new vehicles such as the Opel Signum wagon and the Saab 9-3 convertible, both of which will debut in Geneva.

But, Reuters said, company managers have conceded that the car maker may lose money in Europe again this year.

According to Reuters, GM’s sales in Western Europe fell 8% last year to 1.55 million vehicles, for a market share of 9.4%, down from 9.9% in 2001, according to Ward’s Automotive Reports. Only Italy’s crisis-ridden Fiat had a steeper drop in car sales last year among the major car makers.

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