Elishia Jayye/Unsplash
Gm Hq Photo By Elishia Jayye On Unsplash

GM Avoids Losses, Records $294 Million Net Income

May 6, 2020
The auto giant managed to avoid losing money despite estimated $1.4 billion virus COVID-19 impact.

Somewhat defying the first-quarter fate of its fellow Michigan competitors, General Motors Company closed the first three months of 2020 with a net income of $294 million, down 87.6% compared to the first quarter a year before. By comparison, Ford Motor Co. and Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles N.V. both lost between $1.8-2 billion in the same time period, making GM the only Detroit automaker to post a profit this quarter. Its earnings before interest and taxes was $1.2 billion, down 45.9% over the year.

In a statement, GM CEO Mary Barra said that the company’s strength was its people. “We have a track record of making swift, strategic and tough decisions to ensure our long-term viability and create value for all of our stakeholders.”

In January, as the virus was first spreading in China, General Motors extended its usual holiday at plants there. In March, it suspended all production in North and South America, but kept operations in Korea running throughout. GM’s operations in China have since resumed, and according to the company “considerable planning” is being put towards restarting North American operations.

In the meantime, General Motors extended $3.6 billion under a three-year revolving credit agreement and implemented “aggressive austerity measures.” Those measures included deferring compensation for executive and salaried employees and suspending GM’s quarterly dividend and stock repurchase program.

Earlier in the year, GM made headlines for its program to produce ventilators alongside Bethel, Washington-based Ventec Life Systems. General Motors partnered with the Seattle-area life-support company to manufacture critical care ventilators in its Kokomo plant with volunteer UAW employees. The government bought a contract for 30,000 of the units.

The COVID-19 virus has hammered America’s largest manufacturers, including ground and air vehicle manufacturers, as both industries suffer the double blow of factories shuttered by quarantine orders and hurt demand. GM sales dropped by about 7% during the first quarter, but sales of full-size pickups rose about 27% compared to last year, and the company notes that the industry in March is beginning to recover.

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