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GM Breaks Away From Ford Thanks to New SUVs

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General Motors Co. likely will show just how much the automaker has distanced itself from Ford Motor Co. when it releases quarterly earnings Tuesday.

Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said last month that adjusted profit rose to as much as $6.50 a share last year and will be steady in 2018. New SUVs like the Chevrolet Equinox and Traverse are contributing to record earnings that the company expects to roughly sustain this year. Ford, meanwhile, has forecast profit will drop from disappointing 2017 results.

GM's SUVs Ascend

Chevy Equinox passses Ford's Escape; Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave sales surge

Source: Autodata Corp.

Note: Chevrolet and Buick are GM-owned brands

One big reason Barra has pulled away is GM’s revamped lineup of sport utility vehicles. The Equinox surpassed Ford’s Escape in fourth-quarter U.S. sales, according to Autodata Corp. The automaker also boosted deliveries of the redesigned Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave models late last year.

GM shares have slipped 3.5 percent this year while Ford has plunged 18 percent. Last year, GM climbed 18 percent and Ford gained only 3 percent.

Here are some other themes likely to be on investors’ minds heading into GM’s results:

  • Ascent of autonomy. GM has pledged a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric cars will be in a ride-sharing service starting in 2019. Will executives give more detail on its rollout plans and the company’s bets on autonomous vehicles and car-sharing?
  • Truck changeover. How will GM manage the impact of retooling its truck factories to build the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups?
  • Car cuts. Will GM be the latest in Detroit to hint at cutting struggling sedans from its lineup as consumer demand shifts to SUVs?
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