DETROIT — General Motors' first-quarter net income plunged 87 percent, but earnings in North America rose even as the coronavirus pandemic drove production to a standstill.
The $294 million profit made GM the only one of the Detroit 3 to avoid a first-quarter loss after the companies closed all of their U.S. plants in mid-March. GM said the crisis reduced its adjusted earnings by $1.4 billion before interest and taxes.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted a first-quarter net loss of $1.8 billion, and Ford Motor Co. lost $2 billion. Ford warned that its operating loss would exceed $5 billion in the second quarter.
GM said it aims to reopen most plants in the U.S. and Canada on May 18, mirroring a plan announced Tuesday by FCA. Despite the plants being closed for the last two weeks of the quarter, strong sales of pickups and big SUVs pushed North American profits to $2.2 billion, a 16 percent increase from the first quarter of 2019.
Global revenue fell 6.2 percent to $32.7 billion, and the company's profit margin decreased 2.8 points to 3.8 percent. Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes decreased 46 percent to $1.25 billion.
GM shares surged 7 percent earlier in the day, but pared the gains later, closing up 3 percent at $21.89 in New York.