General Motors posts big third-quarter earnings beat but holds full-year guidance steady amid ‘headwinds’

General Motors easily beat Wall Street's earnings expectations during the third quarter, while slightly missing on revenue. Read more...

UAW Local 5960 member Kimberly Fuhr inspects a Chevrolet Bolt EV during vehicle production on Thursday, May 6, 2021, at the General Motors Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township, Michigan.

Steve Fecht for Chevrolet

DETROIT – General Motors easily beat Wall Street’s earnings expectations during the third quarter, while slightly missing on revenue.

Here’s how GM performed, compared with analysts estimates as compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted earnings per share: $2.25 vs. $1.88
  • Revenue: $41.89 billion vs. $42.22 billion

The big beat and narrow miss on the top line has been a trend throughout the coronavirus pandemic for the automaker, as tight supplies of vehicles have led to lower sales but higher profits on in-demand SUVs and pickup trucks.

Despite the bottom-line beat, GM did not adjust its guidance for the year as profit margins narrowed. The company expects full-year net income of between $9.6 billion and $11.2 billion and adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of between $13 billion and $15 billion, or $6.50 and $7.50 per share.

GM CEO Mary Barra on Tuesday said the company reaffirmed its guidance “despite a challenging environment because demand continues to be strong for GM products and we are actively managing the headwinds we face.”

Shares of the automaker were up about 4% in premarket trading following the company’s quarterly report.

Most investors were expected to look past the Detroit automaker’s results in favor of any change in guidance or comments regarding larger economic issues. Inflation in particular has already dominated the conversation on Wall Street at the start to earnings season.

The auto industry’s earnings and forecasts are being closely watched by investors for any signs that consumer demand could be weakening amid rising interest rates and looming recession fears.

For the third quarter, GM reported adjusted net income of $4.3 billion, up from $2.9 billion a year earlier. Its adjusted profit margin for the quarter narrowed to 10.2% compared with 10.7% during the third quarter of 2021.

On an unadjusted basis, net income was $3.3 billion, up $885 million from a year earlier. The company’s earnings powerhouse, as it has been, was North America with adjusted earnings of $3.9 billion, up from $2.1 billion a year earlier. Earnings also increased $60 million in China compared with the third quarter of 2021, while the company’s financial arm saw its earnings drop to $911 million, down $182 million from a year earlier.

GM Financial’s lower earnings follow strong results throughout the coronavirus pandemic, as consumers, up until recently, easily financed vehicles amid low interest rates and record-high prices.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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