DETROIT: General Motors has reported the worst results in automaking history  – an eye-watering loss of $38.7 billion (€26.5bn; £19.7bn) for 2007.

The figures, although largely due to a third quarter tax adjustment, have prompted GM to offer buyouts to around 74,000 unionized employees in an effort to cut higher-waged workers.

The company has to bring costs under control in its North American plants and trim production in the face of weakened domestic demand.

GM is looking overseas to "explosive growth" in emerging markets to grow sales and return profits. Nearly 60% of all its sales volume has been outside the US for the last three years.

In Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, sales grew 18% during Q4, notching up $424 million in pre-tax income. Asia Pacific earned $72m in the quarter, with annual sales up 18.5% in China and up 74% in India. Europe lost $524 million, while the US posted a pretax loss of $1.1bn.

Comments cfo Fritz Henderson: "Emerging markets are going to continue to be the driver of our revenue growth."

Ceo Rick Wagoner is optimistic about improvements in cash flow and earnings in 2010 and 2011.

He adds: "Our North America turnaround remains on track despite the weak US economy and continued high commodity prices.

"The actions we've taken to further reduce structural costs and strengthen our product lineup … are fundamentally improving our ability to compete in the US and around the world."

Data sourced from USA; additional content by WARC staff