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GM's New Brands Give It Edge Over Rivals, Auto Analyst Says

General Motors
General Motors

General Motors may be finding its fortune -- in China, where its year-over-year sales rose 25%. How does this bode for GM and its Michigan rivals? George Magliano, Global Insight's director of auto research, North America, gave his outlook to "Squawk on the Street" viewers.

Magliano told CNBC's Erin Burnett that, in general, he expects "more lackluster performance" from the Big Three. But he says the lukewarm winner seems to be GM, whose strong product portfolio won "high marks" for the last "12, 18 months."

He said the automaker's crossover brands, including the Arcadia and Outlook, give it the advantage over Ford Motor; and he pointed to DaimlerChrysler's "problems" with the scuttlebutt about a possible spinoff of its American arm.

The researcher expects more moribund news from Ford: He expects that the centennial manufacturer's "pickup sales will be weak" for the duration of the year, as a ramification of the weakness in housing.

But on a bright note, Magliano anticipates "a lot to come" from the New York International Auto Show, which begins this week. In particular, he's looking to a strong crop of energy-efficient small cars. Perhaps some of them will come from GM's suddenly weaker rivals.