Through October, GM's U.S. sales are up 6 percent to 1.8 million units. The company has lost share in an overall market that is up 11 percent.
Most of GM's market share losses stem from the sale of Saab and the elimination of the Pontiac, Hummer and Saturn brands.
GM's results topped rival Ford Motor Co's $1.7 billion third-quarter profit. Chrysler Group, which exited its U.S.-steered bankruptcy a month before GM, had a third-quarter operating profit of $239 million and a net loss of $84 million.
GM said it expects to report positive earnings before interest and taxes in the fourth quarter, but “at a significantly lower run rate” than each of the first three quarters, and expects to be profitable for all of 2010.
Akerson cited several accomplishments:
• “We have significantly lowered our cost base.”
• “We have the No. 1 market share position in the combined BRIC markets” of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
• And so far this year, GM has “sold more vehicles with four brands than last year with eight brands.”
On the other hand, Akerson said, “We've just started to do a better job in marketing our brands to consumers” and “we need to fix Europe.”
GM posted profits before interest and tax payments of $2.28 billion, and net cash flow from operating activities of $2.62 billion in the third quarter. Operating income came to $1.85 billion.
In its release, and in an online presentation to analysts and media, GM cited net income "attributable to common stockholders" of $1.96 billion. In addition, GM's earnings statement gave a figure of $2.16 billion as net income "attributable to stockholders." The difference: $203 million in cumulative dividends on preferred stock.
The number used in the release is “the number we typically use internally,” and “the most transparent number,” said spokeswoman Renee Rashid-Merem. “In our view, $1.9 billion is the bottom line.”
In North America, GM had profits before interest and tax payments of $2.13 billion.
Overseas operations came out slightly ahead. In Europe, GM had a loss before interest and tax payments of $559 million. That was offset by profits before interest and tax payments at GM's international unit, which doesn't include Europe, of $646 million. In addition, GM had equity income net of taxes of $351 million, mainly from its China joint ventures.
Reuters contributed to this report.