Regardless of challenging environment, General Motors CFO expects strong 2017

General Motors

General Motors primary financial officer stated on Thursday the automaker anticipates another “really strong year” in 2017 and restated the company’s profits projection for the year.

“In general, we expect a more difficult environment throughout a number of dimensions” in this year, due to rising rates of interest and falling used-car costs, CFO Chuck Stevens informed investors and experts on a teleconference.

Because of improving economy and lower fuel rates, Stevens stated GM thinks “we’re going to remain in a reasonably useful industry environment.”

Stevens said the automaker will lower inventory levels, an issue for Wall Street, to around 90 days in June from 98 at the end of March, and to around 70 days by the end of this year.

He stated a combination of strong economic indicators and cost-cutting ought to assist GM preserve revenue margins of about 10 percent.

The CFO’s conference call came simply days after frustrating U.S. new light automobile sales figures for March revealed an annualized sales rate of about 16.6 million units.

Those figures had contributed to concerns that after a six-year boom cycle that U.S. car sales might be set for a decrease.

Stevens said GM still anticipated U.S. brand-new light-vehicle sales for the market at around 17.5 million units, after a record 17.55 million in last year.

GM believes March figures were altered by a moderate winter that indicated sales were “more evenly distributed” across the first quarter rather than prior bitterly cold winter, Stevens stated.

GM still anticipates full-year revenues per share of $6.00 to $6.50, he said.

Stevens said the business expected its secondhand car rates to come down around 7 percent this year as lots of leased vehicles return to the market.

Investments in autonomous car technology are adding around $150 million in expenses per quarter at General Motors, the CFO said.

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