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GM Profits More Than Double After Record NA Sales

The Q1 profits came even though global sales fell 2.5 percent. Despite this, CFO Chuck Stevens said average prices per vehicle in North America had improved.

General Motors Ap 5718d1a86e367

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors' first quarter net profit more than doubled as all of its business units posted improved numbers including record pretax earnings in North America.

The Detroit automaker earned $1.95 billion, or $1.24 per share, even after a $500 million cash investment in ride-sharing company Lyft.

After $300 million mainly for union worker buyouts and $60 million to settle stockholder lawsuits, GM earned $1.26 per share. That soundly beat Wall Street forecasts. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $1 per share.

GM broke even in Europe for the quarter, made strong profits in China and narrowed its losses in challenging South America en route to record pretax profits of $2.7 billion for a first-quarter.

After the announcement, shares passed GM's initial public offering price of $33 for the first time since Jan. 5, rising as high as $33.30 in premarket trading.

Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens reiterated guidance of record pretax earnings for the year, beating 2015's mark of $10.8 billion.

The first-quarter profits came even though global sales fell 2.5 percent. Stevens attributed the decline to lower sales in South America and a U.S. strategy to cut low-profit sales to rental car companies. But he said average prices per vehicle in North America improved, which he attributed to trucks and new products such as the Chevrolet Malibu and Camaro.

"Obviously full-size pickups SUVs and crossovers are still strong," he said. "We're very confident we're going to have another 10 plus percent (pretax profit) margin year in North America."

North American pretax profits set a first-quarter record of $2.3 billion. The company broke even in Europe compared with a $200 million loss a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter was $37.3 billion, up 4.4 percent, beating estimates of $34.9 billion.

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