General Motors beat estimates by nearly a dime as earnings surged to $1.7 billion, or $1.03 per share, on revenue of $36.7 billion.
Sales in North America bolstered the firm, where the company had adjusted earnings of $2.2 billion, up 4.5% year-over-year. Market share in the U.S. neared 20%, as truck sales took 23% of the total segment.
During the quarter, GM North America produced 740,000 units, up from 707,000 last year. But that increase was built primarily on small cars, as truck production fell by 19,000. Margins dipped below 5%, as the continued shift lowered premiums available per sale. Inventories remained healthy, up a day to 67 days.
Analysts polled by Bloomberg expected EPS of $0.94 on $35.6 billion of revenue.
“GM delivered a solid quarter thanks to our leadership positions in North America and China, where we have grown both sales and market share this year. But solid isn’t good enough, even in a tough global economy,” said CEO Dan Akerson. “Our overall results underscore the work we have to do to leverage our scale and further improve our margins everywhere we do business.”
Europe continued to drag on General Motors, where the company reported a loss of $300 million. South America operations broke even, down from a profit of $200 million in last year’s quarter.
The company also announced that it had added some 8,000 employees across its global workforce, increasing quarterly payrolls by $300 million. Half of those new hires joined in North America.
Shares in GM had traded up 4.3% yesterday, to $25.04, but that gain has been erased as pre-market trading shed 4.4%. Free cash flow dried up during the period, falling 78% to just $0.3 billion.