General Motors doubles profit in the first quarter, turbo charged by cheap petrol and easy access to credit

Billy Bambrough
Follow Billy
GM Presents Hydrogen Car
Barra said continued success of GM's core business is enabling it to invest in advanced technology (Source: Getty)

General Motors (GM) has reported profit more than doubled to $2bn (£1.4bn), or $1.24 a share, in the first quarter of 2016. Revenue for the first three months of the year climbed by 4.5 per cent to $37.3bn.

The bottom line figures easily beat out analyst estimates of $1.01 per share on revenue of $35.4bn.

Cheap petrol and consumers' easy access to credit pushed sales on in North America and Europe. North America accounted for 85 per cent of GM's earnings before interest and taxes, reflecting robust profits from sport utility vehicles (SUV) and pickup trucks.

GM North America reported first-quarter record earnings of $2.3bn, including a $200m restructuring charge. In the first quarter of 2015 GM posted earnings of $2.2bn for its core US arm.

GM broke even in its European division, pulling back from a loss of $200m a year earlier.

Shares in GM, one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world, jumped by 3.7 per cent in premarket trading straight after the announcement, though the share price is still only marginally higher than the 2010 initial public offering price of $33, despite three straight quarters of record-breaking pretax profits.

Mary Barra, chief executive, said:

We’re growing where it counts, gaining retail share in the US, outpacing the industry in Europe and capitalising on robust growth in SUV and luxury segments in China. This strong quarter also reflects the excellent progress we’re making to improve results in our more challenged global markets. Importantly, the continued success of our core business is enabling us to invest in advanced technology and innovations that will help shape the future of personal mobility.

GM reaffirmed its forecast for the full year of between $5.25 and $5.75 a share, up from $5.02 a share in 2015.