The "New General Motors" is still on a roll, having posted $3.2 billion in net income for the first 2011 quarter despite a couple negative numbers reported on its balance sheets, and said it expects to continue to increase profits on average through the rest of the calendar year.

This quarterly profit represented GM's largest net income since at least 1990, according to Bloomberg.

Increased spending on sales incentives, engineering costs and marketing did cut into overall revenues that nonetheless increased by 15 percent to $36.2 billion.

A Chevrolet Volt passes a gas station by in Boca Raton, Fla. last month.

As the company increases its U.S. and international sales, it said it expects "no material impact" as a result of the Japan crisis that is adversely affecting several Japanese automakers both in the U.S. and in other markets.

GM's 25-percent increase in sales was supported heavily by its most economical cars, as we reported yesterday. These economical sales are anticipated to continue, as the company said it is working on the assumption that higher oil prices are here to stay.

Increased sales also came at a price – an average of $3,566 spent per vehicle on sales incentives – which Autodata said was the highest paid among the eight largest automakers.

In all, North American sales rose $2.82 billion, but the company's profit was cut by $700 million due to higher operating expenses.

According to Bloomberg, analysts and investors were not thrilled by the news.

“The market thought that they would beat the consensus by more than 5 percent,” said Adam Jonas, a New York-based analyst with Morgan Stanley to Bloomberg. “Nobody owns GM to meet numbers. They own GM to beat numbers by a significant amount.”

GM stock reportedly fell $1.02, or 3.1 percent, to $32.02 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. This was the biggest decline since Feb. 24. The shares have slid 13 percent this year.


In addition to a few key charts that display some of the data in different ways, following are paraphrases, excerpts and whole sentences from GM's April 5 press release. The company portrayed the situation in a factual, but overall positive tone.

Those of you who want to see a 38-page PDF of detailed charts, click here . For GM's "Highlights," click here .

For the first quarter of 2011, General Motors' $3.2 billion net profit and revenues of $36.2 billion represented a $4.7 billion increase compared to the first quarter of 2010.

“We are on plan,” said Dan Akerson, chairman and CEO. “GM has delivered five consecutive profitable quarters, thanks to strong customer demand for our new fuel-efficient vehicles and a competitive cost structure that allows us to leverage our strong brands around the world and focus on driving profitable automotive growth.”

Net income attributable to common stockholders included gains of $1.6 billion and $0.3 billion respectively related to the sales of GM’s ownership interest in Delphi Automotive LLP and Ally Financial Inc. preferred stock.

Also included was a $0.4 billion goodwill impairment charge at GM Europe (GME) resulting from a change in accounting standards and charges totaling $0.1 billion at GM International Operations (GMIO) related to revised tax regulations affecting the company’s India joint venture.

Combined, these special items increased the $3.2 billion net income attributable to common stockholders by $1.5 billion or $0.82 per fully diluted share toward a total $1.77 billion per fully diluted share.

GM North America (GMNA) reported Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) of $2.9 billion compared with $1.2 billion in the first quarter of 2010. On an EBIT-adjusted basis, GMNA increased its earnings by $0.1 billion to $1.3 billion compared with the first quarter of 2010.

The company expects GMNA’s quarterly EBIT-adjusted results to improve on average for the remainder of the year compared with the first quarter as better pricing and improved fixed cost should more than offset commodity cost increases and unfavorable mix.

General Motors Europe (GME) reported EBIT of $(0.4) billion. GME’s results improved by $0.6 billion on an EBIT-adjusted basis compared with the first quarter of 2010. The company said it achieved "a significant milestone by delivering breakeven results on that basis." Based on current plans, the company said GME is targeting to achieve breakeven results on an EBIT-adjusted basis before restructuring for the entire year.

General Motors International Operations (GMIO) reported EBIT of $0.5 billion compared with $0.9 billion in the first quarter of 2010. On an EBIT-adjusted basis, GMIO earned $0.6 billion in the first quarter, a decline of $0.3 billion compared with the first quarter of 2010.

GM South America (GMSA) reported EBIT of $0.1 billion, down $0.2 billion from the first quarter of 2010. There were no adjustments in either period.

For the quarter, automotive cash flow from operating activities was $(0.6) billion and automotive free cash flow was $(1.9) billion. Both figures include the $2.5 billion cash impact of GM’s decision, announced in October 2010, to end a wholesale advance agreement with Ally Financial.

The company said it ended the quarter with very strong total liquidity of $36.5 billion. Automotive cash and marketable securities, including Canadian Health Care Trust restricted cash, was $30.6 billion compared with $27.6 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2010.

“GM has great potential to deliver profitable growth around the world as the recovery continues,” said Dan Ammann, senior vice president and CFO. “While we’re encouraged, we keenly recognize we have more opportunities to leverage our scale, improve spending and investment efficiencies, and optimize our strong balance sheet.”

Source: Bloomberg , GM.

UPDATE: (1:45 p.m. E.S.T.)

Chevrolet sold 493 Volts in April, representing a decline from the 608 sold in March. Some may report this news as a perceived increase from Nissan over the Volt which sold more LEAFs.

Nissan's April LEAF sales jumped to 573 units, compared to 298 in March.

As we reported four weeks ago to the day (April 6), this is of no concern in any sense of a race. In an interview with GM Spokesman Rob Peterson, this was predicted:


Also, going forward through 2011, don’t expect to see 12 months neatly divided into the number of units projected, he added, or even a consistent progression. Peterson already predicted April’s sales numbers may look lower.

“There are months in which we have more production not going to retail and April happens to be one of those months,” Peterson said. “We will be billing out the remaining demonstrator vehicles for the dealers. And so we’ll be earmarking a large portion of our production to hit dealer demonstrators rather than going to retail. So you might see a retail sales dip in the month of April.”

So you read it here first [written April 6]. The Volt already was the brunt of several April Fool’s jokes. If April’s sales are low, don’t let an after-the-fact April fools lark concern you.