General Motors Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens told CNBC on Tuesday that the company “couldn’t be more pleased” with its record-breaking earnings report.
“[A] solid fourth quarter really capped a great year,” Stevens said on “Squawk Box,” adding that GM hit “records across the board from a financial performance standpoint.”
Earlier Tuesday, the automaker reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and revenue, earning $1.28 per share on revenue of $43.91 billion.
Wall Street estimates had called for $1.17 per share on revenue of $41.53 billion.
In the fourth quarter a year earlier, GM reported earnings of $1.39 per share on revenue of $39.6 billion.
Operating margins were 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Stevens said GM’s North America business saw a record year, with $12 billion of profitability, up from the previous record of $10.8 billion in 2015.
The solid results were not surprising, considering robust auto sales, particularly in GM’s most profitable vehicles of trucks and SUVs.
GM sold a record 10 million vehicles globally in 2016, up just over 1 percent from the previous year.
Sales were particularly strong in the U.S. and China. GM sold over 3 million vehicles in the U.S., and deliveries in China rose over 7 percent to 3.87 million vehicles — another record for the auto giant.
Looking ahead, Stevens said a potential border adjustment tax from the Trump administration was “still too complex” to parse, but that GM was eager to lend the president a hand “to ensure that the outcome is beneficial.”
“What we want to do is work constructively with the administration around tax reform that helps bolster and build a strong manufacturing presence [and] helps the U.S. economy,” Stevens told CNBC.
In terms of President Donald Trump’s call for manufacturers to move production stateside, Stevens was slightly more tepid, saying a move like that was not just an issue of the automaker’s manufacturing footprint, but of access to supply.
The CFO added that the company decides on where to invest in building plants many years in advance, a plan that could be turned on its head if Trump went forward with a border tax.
Stevens also contended that GM already has a robust presence in the United States.
“We’ve got 40 facilities in the U.S., 100,000 employees, and we’ve invested $21 billion here since 2009,” the CFO said. “At the end of the day, there’s a number of factors that go into footprint decisions, and they’re long lead.”
— CNBC’s Matthew J. Belvedere and Phil LeBeau contributed to this report.