GM announced $3.2 billion profit in the first three months of 2011, for its fifth-straight quarterly profit, including $1.5 billion from one-time charges that included the sale of GM’s stake in Delphi and preferred stock in former in-house lender Ally Financial.
But even excluding those items, profit was $2 billion before interest and taxes, beating analysts expectations of about $1.6 billion and up from $1.7 billion in the quarter a year ago. It was also GM’s biggest profit since earning $1.8 billion in the second quarter of 2000.
GM sold 2.2 million vehicles globally, helping to lift revenue 15% to $36.2 billion, about $600 million more than analysts were expecting.
And GM gave a strong outlook for the rest of the year, saying that results from its core North American unit will improve for the rest of the year as better pricing and lower fixed costs should more than offset commodity price increases and any shift by consumers to less expensive, more fuel efficient cars.
“GM’s systemic reorganization and more market-attuned new models are together making a substantive impact on the company’s ability to generate revenue and profit from its automotive operations. In ‘right-sizing’ itself for its current share of the market, and in designing and building more competitive vehicles in a broader range of market segments, GM is creating a much more viable foundation for consistent growth and profitability,” said Bill Visnic, senior analyst for online automotive research firm Edmunds.com.
The company reiterated it expected the Japan earthquake disaster would have no serious impact on full-year results.
The positive earnings report came as the government looks to sell its remaining stake in GM after a politically controversial $49.5 billion rescue from the Treasury.