GM aims to restart production at North American plants on May 18

GM aims to restart production at North American plants on May 18
© getty

General Motors (GM) said Wednesday it aims to restart most of the North American plants it shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak by May 18.

The automaker's announcement follows a stronger than anticipated quarterly profit that pushed its shares up 5.3 percent, according to Reuters.

GM previously suspended its 2020 profit outlook due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. It did not announce any changes to plans this week.

ADVERTISEMENT

"With the level of uncertainty out there, it's too early to tell until the economy starts to open up," Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara told reporters, according to Reuters.

Suryadevara added that "the second quarter will be the hardest hit," citing a halt to North American production during part of that time period.

GM suspended operations at its North American plants in March amid widespread closures due to the pandemic.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order MORE later invoked the Defense Production Act to have the company produce thousands of ventilators for the federal government.

The first ventilators were delivered last month.

GM reported $294 million in net income for the first quarter of the year, according to CNBC, beating forecasts.

ADVERTISEMENT

Still, the pandemic cost the company $1.4 billion before taxes in the first three months of the year, with nearly half of that amount a result of North American plant closures.

GM has sought to cut costs to curb losses experienced during the beginning of the virus outbreak.

It suspended dividends and share buybacks as well as delayed and closed some programs such as its Maven car-sharing service.

GM closed the first quarter with $33.4 billion in automotive money, which included approximately $16 billion in drawdown from rotating credit facilities.

In China, first-quarter sales reportedly dropped by 43 percent but bounced up to double digits in April.

"We're certainly seeing green shoots in China," Suryadevara said. "Production has completely restarted, and the dealers are seeing increased traffic. Sales are improving." 

GM confirmed it is outlining plans to increase China's market share in 2020, according to Reuters.