General Motors beats expectations on strong crossover sales and cost control

Key Points
  • GM beat analyst expectations, driven by sales of crossovers, as well as pricing and cost control.
  • The company expects to spend more than $8 billion in capital expenditures in 2018, including $1 billion on autonomous cars.
GM CFO: Driving strong sales across all markets

General Motors reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat analysts' expectations on Tuesday, driven by sales of crossovers, and strong pricing and cost controls.

The beat comes in spite of declining wholesale volumes, GM said Tuesday. The company reduced inventories to meet slackening demand, and finished refreshing its high-margin crossover portfolio with the launches of the Chevrolet Traverse and Equinox, Buick Enclave and GMC Terrain.

The largest U.S. automaker said it expects 2018 to be a strong year in North America and around the world.

Here's how the company did compared with what Wall Street expected:

  • Adjusted EPS: $1.65 vs. $1.38 expected according to Thomson Reuters
  • Revenue: $37.7 billion vs. $36.55 billion expected according to Thomson Reuters

"The actions we took to further strengthen our core business and advance our vision for personal mobility made 2017 a transformative year," said GM CEO Mary Barra, in a release. "We will continue executing our plan and reshaping our company to position it for long-term success."

Shares were flat in premarket trading.

GM reported a net loss of $4.9 billion, or $3.46 per share, down from a profit of $2.1 billion, or $1.36 per share.

The loss in the latest period included a $7.3 billion charge tied to tax law changes, and $6.2 billion charge from the sale of GM's European brands, Opel and Vauxhall, the company said. Excluding one-time items, the company earned $3.1 billion, or $1.65 per share, in the latest period, outpacing analyst expectations of $1.38 per share.

GM reported $37.7 billion in revenue, beating analyst expectations of $36.55 billion. A year ago, the automaker reported $39.9 in revenue.

In 2018, GM expects to benefit from sales of of its newly refreshed crossovers, the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Terrain. The company also plans to debut the Cadillac XT4 crossover.

GM and its partners will launch 15 models in China in 2018, under the Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet, Baojun and Wuling brands.

Like its U.S. rival Ford, GM is focusing more of its attention on high-margin trucks and SUVs, and is funneling money into new technologies, such as autonomous vehicles. In January, the company said it is seeking federal approval for a self-driving car.

GM plans to spend more than $8 billion in capital expenditures in 2018, $1 billion of which it plans to spend on autonomous vehicles.

Shares of the company have risen more than 12 percent in the last year.