General Motors said that customers in the US are paying US$3,000 more on average per vehicle than last year when the automaker was under bankruptcy court protection.

In a presentation to analysts and potential investors ahead of an initial public offering, possibly before the end of the year, the company said that discounts on sales of its cars and trucks are now much smaller.

During the presentation, chairman and chief executive officer Ed Whitacre and other executives gave a review of GM’s current business operations, including restructuring in Europe, growth in other markets and 85% capacity utilisation in North America.

The US government, which holds 61% of GM, is looking to sell 20% of this in the IPO, making it a minority owner, according to sources familiar with the plan.

Whitacre said that GM is now positioned to break even during troughs in demand.

The company’s first-quarter operating profit was US$1.2bn in the first three months of the year, and it generated US$1bn in free cash flow. Revenue rose 40% from the same period a year earlier to US$31.5bn. 

However, GM’s Opel and Vauxhall operations in Europe lost US$506m in the first quarter and the carmaker is pushing ahead with plans to restructure the business there with plans to take out 20% of its production capacity and cut 8,300 jobs.

Earlier this month GM decided to withdrew all applications for government loan guarantees across Europe in a move that will now see the automaker fund all requirements internally.

Opel had requested a total of around EUR1.8bn (US$2.2bn) in loan guarantees from several European governments including Germany, the UK and Spain, but Berlin’s decision to turn down the lion’s share of the aid triggered a change of mind by GM which said that its “recently improved financial strength” had been a catalyst in making its decision.