The cost of the record 75 safety recalls this year didn't plague GM's third quarter profit. That's because GM already earmarked money in the first and second quarters to pay for those repairs.
The recalls hurt GM's balance sheet in the quarter, though, now that it's spending some of that money to repair vehicles. GM's had negative $800 million in cash flow in the third quarter compared with $1.3 billion in positive cash flow a year earlier. Stevens attributed the drop to recall expenses and an extra payment to suppliers.
Citi Investment Research analyst Itay Michaeli wrote in a research note that GM's profit-margin growth in North America and performance in challenging regions such as South America and Europe were promising.
Michaeli said the quarter "demonstrates GM’s resilience in a volatile environment."