GM posts $15.5 billion loss for Q2, third-worst in its history

North American revenues fell by nearly $10 billion to $19.8 billion for the quarter as sales in the region fell 20%. Work stoppages at American Axle and several other facilities in May and June also contributed to the decline, GM said. GM's revenue per vehicle in North America dropped 16% last quarter compared with the same period last year, from $21,375 to $17,940. The figure includes the drop in value of vehicles coming back to the company from leases.

Young said the revenue decline included the drop in leased vehicle values and the reduction in inventory, plus the company didn't have enough factory capacity to feed demand for fuel-efficient cars in the first half of the year.

With GM adding shifts at plants making midsize and compact cars in the second half, it should gain revenue from additional sales, he said.

"But ultimately we're going to have to grow the business in a tough market," he said.

On July 15, GM announced a plan to raise $15 billion for its restructuring by laying off thousands of hourly and salaried workers, speeding the closure of truck and SUV plants, suspending its dividend and raising cash through borrowing and the sale of assets.

GM also said it would reduce production by another 300,000 vehicles, and that may prompt another wave of blue-collar early retirement and buyout offers, Young said.

"As our recent product, capacity and liquidity actions clearly demonstrate, we are reacting rapidly to the challenges facing the U.S. economy and auto market, and we continue to take the aggressive steps necessary to transform our U.S. operations," GM Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said in a statement.

GM sold 2.29 million vehicles in the second quarter, down 5% compared with the previous year. The company said a record 65% of those sales were outside North America.

For the first half of the year, Toyota Motor Corp. outsold GM by 277,532 vehicles. It was only the second time Toyota beat GM in sales for the first six months of a year.

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