Financial Performance

GM Posts Earnings Beat, Market Share Slips

The automaker increased sales of pricey pickups by 20% and cut $400 million in costs in Q1, boosting profit despite a 3.4% revenue drop.
Matthew HellerApril 30, 2019

General Motors posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Tuesday due in part to strong sales of high-priced pickups and the automaker’s cost-cutting efforts.

For the first quarter, GM’s net income after tax increased 93% to $2.1 billion, or $1.48 per share. On an adjusted basis, it earned $1.41 per share, beating analysts’ estimates of $1.11 per share.

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Revenue fell 3.4% to $34.9 billion, below estimates of $35.28 billion. With total North America unit sales slipping 4.2%, GM’s U.S. market share tumbled to 16.1% from 17%.

But the company’s bottom line continued to benefit from its pricey new pickups as first-quarter sales of the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light-duty crew cabs were up 20% year over year. Average transaction prices for the models were up $5,800.

GM’s earnings also reflected a 31-cent per share boost from revaluations of its stake in ride-hailing firm Lyft and French auto maker PSA Group.

“GM’s first-quarter operating results were in line with expectations we shared in January,” CEO Mary Barra said in a news release. “My confidence in the year ahead remains strong, driven by our all-new full-size truck launch and our ongoing business transformation.”

The company is gearing up to launch the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD in the second half of 2019. “Our truck launch strategy is focused on maximizing profitability by first introducing a richer mix of popular high-margin models like crew cabs, followed by regular and double cabs,” Barra said.

“This strategy is also helping us grow share among higher-priced trucks at the expense of our competitors,” she added.

GM’s restructuring has included cutting 15% of its salaried workforce earlier this year and halting production of slow-selling sedans at five North American plants. CFO Dhivya Suryadevara said it saved about $400 million in the first quarter as it targets full-year savings of up to $2.5 billion.

In China, the world’s largest automobile market, GM’s net income fell 37% to $376 million from the same period a year earlier and revenue slipped 18%.