By Jeff Gilbert

By Jeff Gilbert
(WWJ) General Motors earned $2.6 billion dollars in the first quarter.  That’s a 33-and-a-half percent increase from the same quarter last year, and the company’s best first quarter ever.

“Our first-quarter results reflect our resolve to grow profitably and demonstrate the strong earnings power of the company,” said CEO Mary Barra.

The earnings came on a solid increase in sales here in North America, when most competitors saw their sales drop.  GM saw a 16 percent increase in sales of very profitable crossovers.

GM’s posted pre-tax earnings of $3.4 billion in North America, up 48.8 percent.  That’s an important number, because it’s what profit sharing checks are based on.

GM made money in North America and Asia.  It lost money in Latin America and Europe.  During the quarter it announced the sale of its European brands.  Earlier this month, GM exited from its operations in Venezuela.

For the full year, GM says it expects earnings to be higher than 2016.

It’s a different story than the one at Ford, which saw a 35 percent drop in first quarter profits, and is looking to a 2017 that will probably bring lower numbers than the year before. Ford says it remains on track to earn a full-year pretax profit of $9 billion in 2017. That’s down from $10.4 billion in 2016.


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