The Detroit automaker joined most global automakers in reporting better-than-expected earnings from July through September as sales across the globe started to rebound from coronavirus lockdowns, especially in China. GM sales in China jumped 12% in the third quarter, with sales of its Buick and Cadillac brands both rising more than 25%.
In the U.S., GM’s most profitable market, sales fell 9.9% in the third quarter compared with a year ago, but were a dramatic improvement over the 34% drop in the second quarter. Sales improved sequentially each month, the automaker said, an encouraging trend.
GM’s profit was boosted by higher-priced pickup trucks and large SUVs, which have seen strong sales in the U.S. through the pandemic. It was the best quarter on record for GM’s Chevrolet Blazer. Sales of the Cadillac XT6 spiked 45% in the U.S. during the last year. Large pickups also sold well.
GM also said it was pumping $2 billion into its Spring Hill, Tennessee, manufacturing plant to push its transition to produce electric vehicles.
Last week, crosstown rivals Fiat Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. reported strong third-quarter net income. FCA said it made $1.4 billion for the period, while Ford earned $2.39 billion.