GM cuts EV production forecast, approves $6 billion share buyback

(Reuters) – General Motors cut its annual EV production forecast and announced a new $6 billion share buyback plan on Tuesday, as the automaker banks on demand from its gasoline-powered models.

GM now projects the higher end of its 2024 EV production to be 250,000 units, down from a prior forecast of 300,000 units, the automaker’s CFO Paul Jacobson said while speaking at the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference.

Last year, GM outlined a $10 billion stock buyback close on the heels of reaching a costly new labor agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW).

“We are very focused on the profitability of our [gas-powered vehicles] business, we’re growing and improving the profitability of our EV business,” CFO Paul Jacobson said, adding that the company will continue to return capital to shareholders.

Ford Motor CFO John Lawler said at the same conference that the automaker is on track to deliver its $2 billion cost reduction plan and added that it would achieve this through material and design changes.

GM did not give a time frame for the latest buyback but said the move will allow it to “opportunistically repurchase shares” after the completion of the existing plan.

GM shares were under pressure for most of 2023 as it dealt with the UAW strike and troubles at its Cruise self-driving vehicle unit.

CEO Mary Barra has acknowledged in prior earnings calls that the company’s shares, which closed at $47.57 on Monday, have been a disappointment since their IPO in 2010.

Shares of the company, which has a market capitalization of nearly $54 billion, were up about 1% in afternoon trading. They have risen about 50% since GM announced the $10 billion stock buyback in late November.

It had raised its dividend by 33% to 12 cents per share in January. Ford Motor (F.N), opens new tab has also committed to return 40% to 50% of its free cash flow to investors and had in February announced an extra 18 cents-per-share dividend.

Reporting by Ananta Agarwal, Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Nora Eckert in Detroit; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Josie Kao