Blog: Dave LeggettBig numbers

Dave Leggett | 8 November 2007

When numbers get big it can be hard to get your head around them. And when it comes to the big car companies and their financial results, the picture can be further muddied by extraordinary items, one-offs and exchange rate effects. And then there’s the simple fact that the really big companies seem to be able to absorb huge losses for quite some time. Things have been getting better at GM, but the latest results didn’t sound too good. Losing almost $40bn (we may as well round to the nearest 10bn) in one quarter is going some, whatever the explanation.

The car business is indeed a tough one. You can get clobbered in one market and then find that another market that was providing welcome offset is less rosy. For GM, these are difficult times. Besides the problems at home, support from Europe is being undermined by weakness in the German market. At least there is the possibility of a strong rebound in Germany in 2008. And if things are still improving in North America and Europe is coming good, the financial results could get a lot better next year.

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