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GM Earnings Slip on Semiconductor Shortage

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

General Motors Co. today reported lower third-quarter earnings as the global semiconductor shortage continued to affect vehicle production.

Detroit-based GM posted quarterly earnings of $2.4 billion, or $1.62 a share, compared with $4 billion, or $2.78, a year earlier. The automaker’s adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell to $2.9 billion, or $1.52 a share, from $5.3 billion, or 2.83, during the same period in 2020.

Revenue for the quarter declined to $26.8 billion from $35.5 billion a year earlier.

Despite the earnings drop, GM said it expects full-year earnings to reach the high end of its previous forecast of adjusted EBIT of $11.5 billion to $13.5 billion.

GM experienced “some challenges based on semiconductors” during the third quarter, CEO Mary Barra said on an interview telecast by CNBC. “We’re still selling every vehicle we can make.”

The computer chip shortage has caused automakers to slow production and close some plants temporarily. Barra told CNBC there was some improvement in semiconductor supply during the third quarter and that she expected more this quarter. Analysts have forecast the computer chip shortage will last into 2022.

For the first nine months, GM reported a profit of $8.3 billion, or $5.55 a share, compared with $3.6 billion, or $2.40, for the same period last year.

In 2020, automakers shut down plants during the first half of the year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Factories reopened with new safety procedures in place. Demand for vehicles, especially trucks and SUVs, remained strong.

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