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GM reports record global sales amid grim market prospects

Oct 16, 2014

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

ISIS, Ebola, tensions between Russia and the Ukraine, economic slowdowns in China, Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere – the profusion of gloomy headlines added up to a grim day on Wall Street yesterday, as the Dow plunged more than 450 points. 

It was the heaviest day of trading in more than three years. 

The stomach-churning day on Wall Street came exactly as General Motors announced some shiny, happy news: GM sold more cars and trucks worldwide in the third quarter than anytime since 1980.

Daniel Howes says the GM's record sales are largely powered by the relatively positive markets in North America and China. But in a lot of other parts of the world, the sales stink for GM as well as its competitors. 

Howes notes that all the recent dismal news contributes to a sense of uncertainty for investors as well as citizens. In this "24/7 wired world," Howes says, people react instantaneously. And their reactions will have effects on things ranging from showroom traffic to what consumers do with their discretionary income. 

On the other hand, Howes says that GM and other Michigan automakers are fundamentally different companies today than they were in 2008. All of them have reduced debts and increased their abilities to withstand loss. 

"I don't think you'll see a repeat of 2008 or 1992 ... because they have a lot more abilities to generate cash around the world," says Howes.

* Listen to Daniel Howes discuss the markets and the auto companies above.