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GM profit falls 14 per cent in Q1

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AP

2013-05-03

General Motors' net income fell 14 per cent in the first quarter, as it earned less money in North America while preparing to launch a redesigned version of its best-selling vehicle, the Silverado pickup.

GM earned $US865 million ($A845 million), or 58 cents per share, down from $US1 billion, or 60 cents per share, in the January-March period a year ago. But excluding one-time items, GM's earnings of 67 cents per share topped analysts' forecast for 54 cents, according to FactSet.

Revenue also topped Wall Street's expectations, and the company lost less money in Europe than a year ago. Shares rose three per cent to $US31.10 in premarket trading.

Worldwide sales rose 3.6 per cent to more than 2.3 million. GM had record sales in China, and it boosted its share of the North American market as sales in the US rose nine per cent.

GM's earnings in North America fell 12.5 per cent from a year ago to $US1.4 billion. Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann said the drop was due to reduced shipments of pickup trucks ahead of the launch of GM's newly redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups. Those go on sale in a few weeks. Auto companies book profits on a vehicle when it leaves the factory.

GM sold a record 816,373 vehicles in China, up 10 per cent from the first quarter a year ago. Among the hot sellers was the Cadillac XTS full-size sedan, which went on sale in China in February. Chinese buyers snapped up more than 2000 XTS sedans in March alone, despite their steep starting price of $US56,000.

Profits in GM's international operations, which includes China, fell five per cent to $US495 million. Ammann said gains in China were offset by weakness in other regions, including India.