General Motors reported its delayed fourth quarter earnings today and, lo and behold, managed to earn a net income of $950 million in the waning months of 2006. Compare that with last year's Q4 loss of $6.6 billion, and today's news is all the more incredible.

Again, those tricky one-time items skewed the results somewhat, since $770 million was earned in Q4 for the sale of GMAC, the automaker's financing unit. Still, without the one-time bump, GM managed to earn $180 million.

Cost cutting played a major role in GM's positive Q4 performance, as its vehicle lineup, at least in the U.S., is still a transitional mix of "old" and "new" GM product. Many highly anticipated new vehicles, like the Chevy Maliby, Camaro, and Cadillac CTS, have yet to go on sale. We expect the automaker's revenue from retail sales in the U.S. to keep climbing once the majority of its product portfolio has been turned over. GM also did well outside of the U.S., posting $228 million in earnings abroad compared with a $1.2 billion loss last year.

It seems clear, at least to us, that even if the GM turnaround hasn't officially turned the corner, it's got its blinker on and is just waiting for the light to turn green.

[Source: Automotive News]