GM profits fall as Opel continues to struggle

Cadillac ATS
Image caption GM's earnings fell even though the number of cars and trucks it sold rose

US automotive giant General Motors (GM) has reported a 14% fall in net profits during the first three months of 2013.

Stubborn losses at its European subsidiary Opel, which also owns the Vauxhall marque in the UK, pulled profits lower.

A 12.5% fall in income in North America also contributed to profits falling to $865m (£555m).

Income fell in spite of a 3.6% rise in the number of vehicles sold, to 2.3 million.

GM has long insisted that Opel will break even by the middle of the decade, thus ending more than 10 years of losses.

Efforts to cut costs are well underway, but the continuing economic crisis in Europe is making matters more difficult, and it is too early to "call the bottom in the European downturn", according to chief financial officer Daniel Ammann.

"There are things we can control and we're making good progress on those," he said.

The shares rose 3.2% after reporting stronger-than-expected quarterly profits.

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