New vehicle launches to drive GM in future: CFO

General Motors posted a better-than-expected quarterly profits Thursday on strong demand in North America and cost-cutting in its struggling European business.

Net income in the second quarter fell to $1.2 billion million, or 75 cents a share, from $1.5 million, or 90 cents a share, a year earlier.

"The net profit was down primarily because of increased tax expenses year-over-year," General Motors CFO Daniel Ammann told CNBC's "Squawk Box," following the company's earnings release.

Excluding one-time items, though, the U.S. automaker earned 84 cents a share—nine cents above analyst expectations. Revenue rose about 4 percent to $39.1 billion, above the $38.37 billion forecasts.

After the earnings announcement, the company's shares rose in pre-market trading. (Click here to track the company's shares in premarket trade.)

"If you look at our operating profit result," Ammann explained, it was "attributable to the new products we're bring into the marketplace—just getting into the first phases of all the launch activity we have coming."

GM has set out to launch 19 new vehicles in 2013—two-thirds of them coming in the second half of this year.

"We see very solid demand in the U.S. economy—good progress from a transaction price perspective," he said. "We feel good about where things are and where they're headed."

As for Europe, GM narrowed its losses significantly there to $110 million in the second quarter, compared to red-ink of $394 million last year.

While Europe remains "a challenging macro-economic environment," Ammann said he's encouraged by the progress there due to "new product launches in the marketplace [and] some very aggressive cost-control."

—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC. Wires services contributed to this report.