General Motors is the world's largest vehicle manufacturer and it attributed the losses to summer strikes at two of its American plants. However, GM Europe made a profit of $50 million in the third quarter against a loss of $21 million a year ago. GM profits for the first nine months of the year total $1.2 billion (1997: $4.2 billion) on sales of $114.9 billion (1997: $123.3 billion).
Meanwhile, losses at Ford of Europe increased in the third quarter of 1998 to $273 million, compared with a loss of $147 million in the same period last year. The decline reflected costs associated with the launch of the new Focus - which went on sale in the UK last Thursday - and lower export sales, said the company.