GM boasts record gains, local dealers report similar trends - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

GM boasts record gains, local dealers report similar trends


General Motors is reporting huge gains in its second quarter profit. Company earnings doubled since the same time last year -- to $2.5 billion.

This is the sixth straight quarterly profit. The increased sales in the U.S. and overseas, in the first half of the year, makes GM the largest global automaker.

The gains at the top are being felt by local auto dealerships. As a family-owned business of 30 years, Jerry Roling Motors has seen a lot of things change in the auto business. But current owner, Brad Roling noted, in Iowa one thing remains steady: folks love their trucks.

"Five, ten years ago we were probably 80% trucks. And we're still predominately trucks, but it's probably down to about 40% trucks," he said.

When the auto crisis hit in 2008, GM entered into bankruptcy and headed back to the drawing board. The company emerged with a new strategy, and a new line of products. And if dealers wanted to stay in business, they had to go along for the ride.

"We can't just go out and pick up another product line. If General Motors brings out bad products we're stuck with what they have. But thankfully they've been bringing out good stuff," said Roling.

The focus has shifted from building bigger, to building better.

"They've really taken ahold of the car market, the fuel economy market, and small crossover market with the Equinox," Roling said.

Roling has five crossover vehicles currently in stock and wishes he had more. His dealership will have no problem selling all five with a week. It's a stark contrast to how business looked in 2008.

"From being a few years ago, wondering how they were going to make it through and what was going to happen... to now, they've got fantastic products and record profits. It's nice to be on this side," Roling noted.

Some analysts are looking at the automaker's gains, and seeing a slowdown ahead for GM. But Roling believes the company is paving the way for continued success in the future.

"We can all be proud that, here's an American company, selling American products, American built by American people. And it's doing fantastic. So that's... everybody can be proud of that," he added.

Whether you drive a GM vehicle or not, the company's success is important for American taxpayers. The U.S. Government still owns about a third of GM common shares. Lawmakers voted in 2009 to bailout the company -- with a total investment of about $52 billion.

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