GM Profit Falls in Q1 on low demand in Europe image

US car giant General Motors on Thursday said its first-quarter profits slumped 69% to $1bn as the automaker struggled in Europe.

However the results beat Wall Street estimates and GM turned in a strong performance in North America, lifting its stock price in pre-market trading Thursday.

General Motors posted $1 billion in net income attributable to common stockholders in the quarter, down from $3.2 billion a year earlier, when it benefited from several large isolated gains. Revenue in this year’s quarter increased 4 percent to $37.8 billion.

In North America, GM made $1.7 billion, compared to $1.3 billion a year ago. The company said it expects profitability in the region to remain level through the second and third quarters at it works to switch over a new model line of trucks affecting production.

“The U.S. economic recovery, record demand for GM vehicles in China and the global growth of the Chevrolet brand helped deliver solid earnings for General Motors,” said CEO Dan Akerson in a statement.

However, in Europe, GM’s loss was $256 million compared to break-even results last year.
GM’s global market share in the quarter was 11.3 percent, slightly lower than 11.4 percent in the prior-year period.

The company’s global vehicle sales rose 2.7 percent to 2.28 million units from 2.22 million a year earlier. GM remains ahead of Volkswagen AG, which sold 2.16 million vehicles in the quarter.

GM’s stock rose to US$23.64 a share in premarket trading from Wednesday’s closing price of US$22.93.