The company also said its adjusted loss, excluding the tax writeoff, was much steeper than expected. GM lost $2.80 a share on that basis, compared with the 22-cent loss expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.
GM's bottom-line loss was $68.85 a share, compared with the year-ago loss of $147 million, or 26 cents a share.
GM's GMAC financing affiliate swung to a $1.6 billion loss in the latest quarter as the collapse of the U.S. mortgage market and a continuing slide in housing prices weighed on results.
On the upside, the company said third-quarter automotive revenue was a record $43 billion, as global sales rose 4% from a year ago to 2.39 million vehicles.
"We continue to implement the key elements of our North America turnaround strategy, and these initiatives are driving steady improvement in our financial results, despite challenging North America market conditions," said CEO Rick Wagoner. "In addition, we are very encouraged by our performance in emerging markets. Our record third quarter global sales are strong evidence that our commitment to great cars and trucks is being embraced by consumers around the globe."
GM also said its liquidity position, reflecting cash and marketable securities, rose to $30 billion at quarter-end.
Shares fell $3.09 to $33.07.