The Opel Mokka SUV has been a surprise hit for GM in Europe. Photo credit: General Motors Co.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) reported a strong profit on Wednesday, thanks to profitability gains in North America and ongoing improvements in Europe. Excluding some one-time items, GM's pre-tax profit was $2.6 million, ahead of Wall Street estimates and ahead of many expectations for the still-recovering Detroit giant.

Europe is one part of GM that is exceeding expectations. GM's European business lost $214 million in the third quarter -- a huge improvement over the $487 million that GM lost in the region a year ago.

This was the third quarter in a row of sharply reduced losses for GM in Europe. As Fool contributor John Rosevear explains in this video, GM's restructuring efforts are finally bearing fruit -- and shareholders can start to look forward to even better days ahead.