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GM Quarterly Profit Surges

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

General Motors Co. said today its first-quarter profit rose sharply compared with a year earlier despite having to deal with a global shortage of computer chips.

The Detroit-based automaker’s quarterly profit totaled $3.02 billion, or $2.03 a share, compared with $294 million, or 17 cents, during the same period in 2020. Revenue declined slightly to $32.5 billion from $32.7 billion.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused automakers in North America to shut plants in March 2020. Factories began to reopen two months later after new safety procedures had been implemented.

GM reported adjusted earnings of $2.25 a share, up from 62 cents a year earlier. Analyst forecasts called for adjusted earnings of $1.04 a share, according to CNBC.

The company also affirmed its full-year forecast of net income between $6.8 billion and $7.6 billion and adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of between $10 billion and $11 billion. “We see results coming in at the higher end” of the adjusted forecast, CEO Mary Barra said in a separate letter to shareholders.

The executive described how GM has shifted from coping with the pandemic to adjusting to the semiconductor shortage.

“Our supply chain and manufacturing teams are maximizing production of high-demand and capacity-constrained vehicles,” Barra said. “Our engineering teams are creating effective alternative solutions, and our sales teams, together with our dealers, are finding creative ways to satisfy customers despite lean inventories.”

The automaker has scheduled downtime at some plants this quarter because of the chip shortage. Last week, Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., said last week its second-quarter production may be reduced by 50 percent because of the semiconductor issue.

GM is relying on sales of large pickups and SUVs in North America to finance its investments in electric vehicles and self-driving technology.

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