General Motors reported an increase in earnings for the third quarter as a surge in vehicle production offset the impact of rising interest rates and higher prices for parts and materials.
The automaker said it earned $3.3 billion in profit in the period from July to September, compared with $2.4 billion in the third quarter of 2021. Revenue rose sharply, to $41.9 billion, from $26.8 billion in the year-ago period. G.M. shipped 966,000 light trucks and cars in the third quarter, a big jump from last year’s quarterly total of 536,000.
The company repeated its previous forecast that full-year profit would be $9.6 billion to $11.2 billion. G.M.’s shares were up more than 3 percent in afternoon trading.
G.M. declined to offer a forecast on whether the United States economy could slip into a recession, but said consumers were still buying new vehicles at a brisk pace.
“We continue to see that strong demand,” the company’s chief financial officer, Paul Jacobson, said in a conference call.
He said that stocks of unsold vehicles on dealer lots had increased but that they remained at historically low levels. At the end of the third quarter, dealers had 359,000 vehicles in inventory. That’s about half of what they typically held in previous years, but up from the 248,000 vehicles that dealers had in stock at the end of the second quarter.
Automakers of all stripes are facing tougher market conditions as a result of inflationary pressures, the uncertain economy and production slowdowns caused by a global shortage of computer chips. A week ago, Tesla reported near-record earnings for the third quarter, but they fell short of analysts’ expectations. Ford Motor reports its third-quarter earnings on Wednesday.
Mr. Jacobson said that the chip shortage had eased but that it still caused “hiccups from time to time.” At the end of the second quarter, G.M. was holding 95,000 vehicles that were waiting for certain parts before they could be shipped. About 75 percent were delivered to dealers in the third quarter, he said.
Previously, G.M. said it expected that material costs would rise about $5 billion this year. Ford has said its costs would rise about $4 billion. Interest rate increases are also pushing up the cost of buying vehicles at a time when prices are at record highs.
In September, the average purchase price of a new vehicle in the United States was $47,257, according to Edmunds.com, a market researcher. The average monthly payment on new vehicles was $703 in the third quarter, from $630 a year ago.
At the same time, carmakers are racing to produce new electric vehicles. G.M. is supposed to start making an electric Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck in the first quarter, followed by electric versions of the Chevy Blazer and Equinox sport-utility vehicles later next year.
G.M. said its rollout of new E.V.s would proceed somewhat more slowly than it had previously expected. The company now expects to sell about 400,000 electric vehicles by the middle of 2024. It had previously predicted that it would hit that milestone at the end of 2023.
The company said it was still on track to be able to sell one million E.V.s a year by 2025. G.M. has started producing battery packs at a new plant in Ohio. It expects to open a second battery plant in 2023 and a third in 2024.