General Motors Co. on Thursday posted a net profit of 7.6 billion U.S. dollars for the whole of 2011, but troubles in the Europe weakened its earnings and underscored challenges in 2012. The car maker said Thursday in a statement that its net income in the fourth quarter of 2011 reached 500 million dollars, bringing the year's total to 7.6 billion dollars, or 4.58 dollars earnings per share, up from 2010's 2.89 dollars. Dan Akerson, GM's chairman and CEO, said the company will build on these results as it brings more new cars, crossovers and trucks to market. Meanwhile, GM reported 7.2 billion dollars of earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) in North America market in 2011 while suffered a loss of 700 million dollars in the European market. Besides, GM's U.S. defined benefit pension plans earned asset returns of 11.1 percent in 2011 and its pension was 88 percent funded, almost unchanged from 89 percent funded a year ago. Looking forward, GM expects continued pricing improvement with cost inflation well contained, while product mix and pension expense are expected to be unfavorable. Capital spending in 2012 is expected to be eight billion dollars as the company continues to aggressively invest in new products and technologies. General Motors reported a sales decline of six percent in January this year. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and the U.S. Treasury Department still owns about 26 percent of the company.