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General Motors unveils record profits for 2011

image captionGM will pay profit-sharing bonuses to staff

US carmaker General Motors made record profits in 2011 but unveiled huge losses in its European operations.

The firm made a profit of $7.6bn (£4.85bn) over the year, up 62% from 2010.

However, it lost $700m in Europe, which includes its UK Vauxhall plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton, and made a $100m loss in South America.

The firm, which faced bankruptcy two years ago, saw sales rise 7.6% last year to more than 9 million vehicles.

Much of its growth came from North America, where profits more than tripled to $7.19bn in 2011.


GM has announced it will give up to $7,000 each in bonuses to 47,500 eligible workers across the world - compared with $4,300 a year ago.

In 2008, the firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and received a $50bn bailout from President Barack Obama's administration, with the US government now owning 32% of the firm.

In the UK, the firm has about 4,500 staff, making the Vauxhall Astra van, estate and hatchback models.

General Motors' chief financial officer, Dan Ammann, said: "Behind the scenes, we are working hard to eliminate complexity and cost throughout the organisation to increase margins in all of our regions and return Europe and South America to profitability."

However, he did not disclose whether this would mean job cuts.

Some analysts were disappointed that GM failed to give a detailed forecast for 2012.

"A lack of guidance leaves GM shares shrouded in the thick fog of macro-uncertainty," said Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley.