General Motors Blasts Q3 Profit Forecast on Pickup, SUV Demand

GM followed its domestic rival Ford in posting much stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings linked to improving domestic demand.

General Motors Co.  (GM) - Get Report posted much stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings Thursday thanks to improving domestic demand for pickups and SUVs.

General Motors said adjusted diluted earnings for the three months ending in September came in at 2.83 per share, up 64.5% from the same period last year and firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.38 per share. Group revenues, General Motors said, were essentially flat to last year at $35.5 billion and matched analysts' forecasts.

“This year, and the third quarter, is a testament to GM’s resilience. We entered the pandemic in a strong position and acted decisively to keep our teams safe, conserve cash and preserve liquidity, all while keeping our critical product programs on track," said CEO Mary Barra. "Now we are well positioned to meet rising customer demand, accelerate our transformation and deliver our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”  

General Motors shares were marked 3.44% higher in early trading Thursday immediately following the earnings release to change hands at $36.37 each, extending their six-month gain to around 73%.

"Through the third quarter, GM’s large pickups gained 1.7 percentage points in retail market share, leading the segment with 37.5 percent share (J.D. Power)," the company said. "GM’s all-new full-size SUVs are in high demand; the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL gained three percentage points in retail segment share since launching in the second quarter."  

China sales, GM said, rose 12% from last year as the world's biggest car market emerged from coronavirus lockdowns. Worldwide sales, GM said, slipped 4% to 1.793 million units.

Late last month, U.S. rival Ford Motor Co.  (F) - Get Report posted a surge in third quarter earnings, thanks to a 10.5% jump in revenues, thanks in part to the strongest north American profit margins in four years.

Ford also said it expects to see solid gains over the final months of the year, forecasting 2020 adjusted earnings in the range of break-even to a loss of $500 million, thanks in part to continued domestic demand for its higher-margin pickups and SUVs.

Ford shares were marked 1.7% higher in pre-market trading following the GM results at $7.77 each.