The automaker reported net income excluding items of 67 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated 87 cents. Revenue rose 3% to $40.5 billion. Analysts had estimated $41 billion.
Including a net loss from special items of 10 cents a share, GM earned 57 cents a share. In the same quarter a year earlier, GM earned 54 cents a share including a net gain from special items of 6 cents.
In premarket trading Thursday, GM shares were down $1.35 at $33.85.
"Launches of some of the best vehicles in our history combined with significant improvements in our core business led to a solid year," said CEO Mary Barra, in a prepared statement. "The tough decisions made during the year will further strengthen our operations. We're now in execution mode and our sole focus will be on delivering results on a global basis."
During the quarter, GM North America reported EBIT-adjusted of $1.9 billion, compared with $1.1 billion in the same quarter a year earlier. GM Europe reported EBIT-adjusted of $300 million, compared with $800 million a year earlier.
GM International Operations, which operates in Asia, reported EBIT-adjusted of $200 million, down from $700 million. GM South America reported flat EBIT-adjusted, compared with about $100 million a year earlier.
GM Financial reported earnings before taxes of $200 million, compared with about 100 million a year earlier.
For the full year, net income was $3.8 billion or $2.38 a share, down from $4.9 billion or $2.92 a share. Operating performance improved during the year, but was more than offset by a net loss from special items and incremental tax expense.
Under current economic conditions, GM expects no mandatory contributions to U.S. defined benefit pension plans for at least five years.
"During 2013, we strengthened our fortress balance sheet and delivered consistent earnings, providing the foundation for a quarterly dividend for our shareholders this year," said Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens. "This year we'll leverage our strength in the U.S. and China to execute important restructuring activities in other key global operations."