GM Should Be 'Solidly Profitable,' Lutz Says - TheStreet



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General Motors

should be ''solidly profitable'' as demand for new cars and trucks returns to normal levels, GM's Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said in a speech Sunday.

Speaking on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show, Lutz told the Society of Automotive Analysts, ''I think we are finally in a position where, from a financial structure, we should be. Anything remotely resembling normal industry demand, we should be solidly profitable.''

Lutz said GM is predicting U.S. sales of about 11 million to 12 million vehicles in 2010, hinting the company could return to profitability, the

Associated Press

reports. Auto sales fell about 20% in 2009 to 10.4 million vehicles, the worst performance in nearly three decades.

Lutz's statements echo Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre's prediction last week that GM could report profits this year. "Our balance sheet is in the best shape that it's been in decades," Lutz said.

Lutz was highly optimistic about the Chevrolet Cruze which will be released later this year. He said the compact car, which achieves 40 miles a gallon, could reach global sales of nearly 1 million units annually,



Lutz also added that GM was planning a production version of Cadillac Converj, a luxury version of the Chevrolet Volt. Aimed at "consumers who don't mind paying a large price for a luxury vehicle," the vehicle may not go on sale before 2013, Lutz said.