GM CFO: $1.3 billion recall charge 'overshadowing' results

GM Q1 earnings mixed

General Motors on Thursday posted lower quarterly profits after a massive recall over defective ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths, but results topped expectations on strong pricing for its vehicles—especially in North America.

Net income in the first quarter fell to $108 million, or 6 cents a share, including a $1.3 billion recall charge. Taking out other one-time costs relating to Venezuelan operations, GM earned 29 cents compared to estimates of 4 cents. With the Venezuelan operations, earnings were 6 cents a share.

Revenue was $37.4 billion, below the expected $38.4 billion.

CFO Chuck Stevens told CNBC's "Squawk Box" just after the results were announced that it's too early to say whether the automaker will have to take additional charges related to the recall.

"That's overshadowing our overall results. If you look at the core underlying performance we were quite pleased by Q1 results," he told CNBC. "North America, excluding the recall, earnings were actually up $500 million year-over-year with margins up just over 8 percent."

The company is under investigation by safety regulators, Congress and the Department of Justice over its failure to detect the faulty part for more than a decade.

Some GM ignition switches can make vehicle engines stall while operating, stop airbags from deploying and power steering and power brakes from operating.

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—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere. Reuters contributed to this report.