NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors posted better-than-expected financial results for the latest quarter, but indicated that its efforts to shave costs are not behind it as the automaker offered lucrative buyouts to 74,000 employees - its entire U.S. hourly workforce.
The nation's largest automaker reported improved fourth-quarter results from its overseas auto operations, which helped to balance out continued losses at its North American plants. But problems at finance unit GMAC, of which it still owns 49%, coupled with large charges taken in the third quarter related to tax credits, left GM with a company record $38.7 billion net loss for 2007.
If you strip out all the charges, GM reported a profit for the quarter. Is it possible that GM has actually turned the corner? GM is desperately trying to cut costs but the union contracts make it very expensive. And the cost cutting is just a survival technique. Ultimately, GM will need to design cars that people actually want to drive - something they haven't been particularly successful at lately.