The global auto industry is entering a defensive crouch in early 2019, but General Motors is a notable exception.
On Friday, the largest US carmaker by sales kicked off its Capital Markets Day in New York with a bullish outlook for 2019 and a better-than-expected look back on its 2018 financial results, which the company will report in February.
GM doesn't anticipate a collapse in the US sales market; after four years of record or near-record sales above 17 million, the company guided Wall Street to a number in that range for 2019.
The company also expects the Chinese market — a source of concern for investors amid macro-economic pressures and the Trump trade war — to hold up, totaling about 27 million in vehicle sales for 2019.
Ahead of its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings announcement, GM also said it should exceed its previous 2018 guidance of $5.80 to $6.20 per share on a diluted, adjusted basis. It also guided significantly higher for 2019's bottom line: a range of $6.50 to $7 per share, above Wall Street's anticipated consensus of about $6.
Adjusted free cash flow for 2018 should beat $4 billion, and GM guided toward an improved range of $4.5 billion to 6 billion for 2019. On a conference call in New York, CFO Dhivya Suryadevara indicated that GM's restructuring process in 2018 could contribute between $2 billion and $2.5 billion to the company's profit outlook.