By on May 6, 2020

Like its domestic rival, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors is also looking to begin firing up U.S. assembly plants on May 18th. The news first came by way of The Detroit Free Press, which learned of alerts sent from plant managers to UAW workers at GM’s Lansing Delta Township and Flint operations. The automaker later confirmed this via its first-quarter 2020 earnings report.

The non-renewal of Michigan’s stay-at-home orders (which run through May 15th), coupled with a new, company-wide health protocol and the UAW’s quiet acquiescence to a Detroit Three reopening, seemed to pave the way for a firm restart date.

But first, that profit. Pegged at $294 million, the black ink came as a surprise to many, though analysts predicted that GM was the Detroit Three member most likely to come out on top in Q1. Ford and FCA both announced steep losses last week.

Via Reuters, GM Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara said the company would not provide a 2020 profit outlook just yet, adding, “With the level of uncertainty out there, it’s too early to tell until the economy starts to open up.”

Suryadevara said the production shutdown and cratered sales stemming from the coronavirus pandemic axed $1.4 billion from the automaker’s Q1 profit. Like its rivals, GM expects Q2 to be the “hardest hit, she added. GM also burned through more than $900 million in cash during the previous three months, though it ended the quarter with $33.4 billion in liquidity. The automaker moved fast to bolster its bottom line with credit back in March.

News of the profit added buoyancy to GM’s stock, with share prices rising 7 percent in early Wednesday trading.

As for the restart date, GM aims to have the bulk of its non-Mexican North American plants online as of May 18th, stating, “Based on conversations and collaboration with unions and government officials, GM is targeting to restart the majority of manufacturing operations on May 18 in the United States and Canada under extensive safety measures.”

In Mexico, where the coronavirus outbreak is expected to peak this week, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said recently he would like the nation’s economy to fully open by June 1st. Should that occur, it’s assumed that auto plants will be among the businesses throwing open their doors.

[Image: General Motors]

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10 Comments on “GM Announces Quarterly Profit, Aims for May 18th Restart...”

  • avatar

    I’d be scared to have to close the plant again later. The coronavirus response has been clumsy to say the least, and a new surge seems likely.

    • 0 avatar

      you are scared because you are uninformed

      as testing becomes widespread, so will the new “surge” – totally expected and the great majority of positives will have been asymptomatic

      people forget the lockdown had nothing to do w/ mortality, it was about not overwhelming hospitals and that’s over – in fact most hospitals are far below capacity – causing them to fail financially

      delaying opening will actually increase mortality by making economic conditions more dire for more people

      the mortality in concentrated in identifiable groups and they should stay apart

      herd immunity is the goal – there will be no vaccine – Fauci promised one for SARS in 2003 and it was a complete failure – corona viruses mutate – this SARS virus, the Wuhan virus, has 8-30 mutations depending on which source you read

      waiting for a vaccine before reopening is economic suicide and would lead to a real suicide pandemic that would dwarf anything the Wuhan virus will do

    • 0 avatar

      The economic lockdown has done nothing to stop the spread of the virus.

  • avatar

    Traditionally, Ford and Chrysler lost money in recessions, and GM usually made a modest profit. It seems nothing has changed, financially, though a whole lot has changed in the industry over the years.

    GM now has a huge presence in China, while Ford and FCA have minimal action there. That could cause problems for GM in the future, if there’s significant global pullback from China, as seems likely.

  • avatar

    At least one Canadian plant is opening (slowly) sooner, St. Catharines Powertrain starts up on the 11th for one engine one shift of production.

  • avatar

    Someone needs to do a welfare check on the misogynists among the B&B.

    Yup, Mary sure is terrible for GM. Turning a profit despite the fall strike and losing most of March to sales.

    She is sure horrible for GM.

    Har! Har! Har!

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, because if you criticize someone who is female, then you hate women.

      Deep thoughts.

    • 0 avatar

      According to Peter DeLorenzo, it’s the “true believers” at GM who are keeping the company afloat, in spite of Mary and the usual suspects in the silos.

      It’d not a knock on females to criticize the long list of GM CEO’s/Chairmen. Mary Barra is no better nor worse than Dan Akerson, Ed Whitacre, Fritz Henderson, or Rick Waggoner.

      It’s not even a knock on Barra and her non-auto background. She was preceded by a naval officer, a telephone guy, a front office GM lifer, and a basketball player! While they were all in over their heads, there were the true believers and car guys like Maximum Bob Lutz keeping the machine running.

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