) -- Lost in the focus on the new
CEO and the timing for its IPO was the automaker's economic outlook.
Before outgoing CEO Ed Whitacre dropped his departure bombshell at the end of the company's earnings conference call on Thursday, CFO Chris Liddell noted that GM does not see a double dip in the economy.
"We're still looking at a steady gradual recovery in the U.S.," Liddell said. "There is nothing to suggest that ... the recovery is going to turn down at this stage." He said GM continues to see 2010 U.S. vehicle sales of 11.5 million to 12 million.
Nevertheless, Liddell noted that GM's second half results will not be as strong as its first half results, which benefitted from one-time items including a lease residual adjustment, reflecting higher values from lease sales due to rising using car prices. "I'm assuming the second half will be lower than the first half," said Liddell, who predicted "solid profitability for the year even though second half results will moderate."
The outlook from
, reported last week, was similar. Ford also sees annual U.S. vehicle sales of 11.5 to 12 million, up from 10.4 million in 2009.
"Recent data hasn't changed our view of the ongoing economic recovery," said economist Emily Kolinski Morris during the Ford sales call.
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.