General Motors Co. said its first-quarter profit more than doubled on increased high-profit pickup sales.
Detroit-based GM posted quarterly net income attributable to shareholders of $2.16 billion. That compared with $1.05 billion in the first-quarter of 2018.
On a per-share basis, the first quarter profit was $1.48 a share compared with 72 cents a year ago. This year’s per-share figure includes a benefit of 31 cents a share in revaluations of its Lyft ride-sharing service and a stake of preferred shares in PSA Group. Lyft had an initial public offering of shares in March.
The automaker said in a statement that deliveries of 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light-duty crew ups surged 20 percent during the quarter. Pickups are the most profitable line of vehicles for GM and its Detroit-area rivals, Ford Motor Co. and FCA US LLC.
The 2019 trucks are priced about $5,800 more than they models they replaced. The automaker said it was part of a strategy to introduce “high-content, high-margin trucks first.” The rise in pickups occurred as GM’s total U.S. deliveries fell 7 percent in the first quarter.
GM said total revenue for the quarter fell 3.4 percent to $34.9 billion. The automaker relied on North America for its profit.
“My confidence in the year ahead remains strong, driven by our new vehicle launches including our all-new @Chevrolet Silverado and @GMC Sierra pickups,” CEO Mary Barra said in a tweet.
GM’s adjusted earnings before interest and taxes actually declined from a year earlier to $2.31 billion from $2.61 billion.
Barra’s Tight Ship
Under Barra, GM sold off its unprofitable European-based Opel and Vauxhall brands to Paris-based PSA Group in 2017. The company is making major investments in electric and self-driving vehicles. Barra, speaking during a conference call today about earnings, said GM plans to produce an electric full-size pickup. She didn’t provide details.
In the meantime, Barra continues to run a tight ship so it can afford those investments. The company is mostly getting out of the car business. The automaker said today that pickups, SUVs and crossovers made up moe than 80 percent of its first-quarter U.S. vehicle sales.
GM said last year that five plants in the U.S. and Canada will have no products allocated to them. They haven’t been formally closed yet, that status will depend on negotiations with unions.
One of the affected plants, a Lordstown, Ohio, factory that made the Chevrolet Cruze small car, ceased operations during the first quarter. That drew widespread criticism, including attacks by President Donald Trump.
‘I Just Want It Open!’
“Just spoke to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors about the Lordstown Ohio plant,” Trump wrote in a March 17 tweet. “I am not happy that it is closed when everything else in our Country is BOOMING…I just want it open!”
GM today said it had invested $22 billion in U.S. operations since 2009, including $4.3 billion since the start of 2017. The automaker announced this month it was investing $300 million and adding 400 jobs at a Michigan plant to produce a new Chevy electric vehicle. It also said it was adding a second shift and adding 400 jobs at a Kentucky plant that makes the Corvette sports. car.
The company said today as part of its earning report that 1,300 of 2,800 U.S. hourly employees affected by its plant decisions have accepted positions at other GM factories.
GM received a U.S.-backed $49.5 billion bailout in 2009 during the administration of former President Barack Obama.