General Motors reports $1.7 billion earnings in Q3 – 15% down image

General Motors Co. reported third-quarter earnings down 15% from the quarter a year ago to $1.7 billion.

Still, it was the GM’s seventh-straight quarterly profit, and the lower numbers still beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations.

The Detroit based automaker lost money in Europe but it made a profit in North America and in its international operations including Asia.

Net revenue increased $2.6 billion to $36.7 billion, compared with the third quarter of 2010. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) adjusted was $2.2 billion, compared with $2.3 billion in the third quarter of 2010. There were no special items in either period, the US automaker said in a statement.

“We had revenue growth year over year; we have share growth year over year. … Customers are obviously seeing the value of the vehicles that we have in the market,”

Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann told reporters this morning. “We plan actions everywhere to improve our margins. … This is about improving the sustainable profitability of our business.”

General Motors said it has sold 2.2 million vehicles in the first nine months of the year – up 9 percent led by strong global sales for its Cruze compact, as well as a pickup in truck sales.

The company said it has been able to continually raise prices, but it said consumers are choosing lower-priced vehicles — switching from sport utility vehicles to crossovers or to small cars from larger ones.

GM was the last of Detroit’s Big Three automakers to report its third-quarter earnings.