North America Sales Fuel General Motors Beat

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General Motors reported better-than-expected earnings on Thursday, led by its North American business and a smaller-than-anticipated loss in Europe.

After the earnings announcement, the company's shares rose in premarket trading. (Click here to get the latest quotes for GM.)

The company posted first-quarter earnings excluding items of 67 cents per share, down from 93 cents a share in the year-earlier period.

Revenue slipped to $36.9 billion from $37.76 billion a year ago.

Analysts had expected the automaker to report earnings excluding items of 54 cents a share on $36.6 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

The quarter included a $162 million noncash charge for the devaluation of the Venezuelan currency.

"Overall a solid quarter and good start to the year," CFO Daniel Ammann said. "Very much on plan from our point of view. We are really going into the heart of all of our launch activity that we've been talking about for some time now. You see that starting to show up in the top line. We gained market share in most markets around the world in North American and even Europe."

GM's North American business earned $1.4 billion. The automaker posted a loss in its European operations of $175 million, narrowing from a loss of $256 million in the year-earlier period.

GM sales were up 3.6 percent in the quarter overall, with North American sales up 8 percent. Despite the narrower loss, sales in Europe fell 6 percent.

Reuters contributed to this report.