GM's dominance in trucks and sport utilities helped drive profit higher. Fred Katayama reports.
Strong sales of pickup trucks and crossovers powered General Motor's quarterly profit up 33 percent. Those earnings crushed analysts' estimates. Sales of GMC trucks and crossovers jumped nearly 10 percent. Fueling sales of big trucks: low gas prices. The truck loving U.S. market accounted for most of GM's pretax earnings. Sales of cars, which are less profitable, fell. Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Alec Gutierrez: SOUNDBITE: ALEC GUTIERREZ, SENIOR ANALYST, KELLEY BLUE BOOK, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Really the main driver there is going to be the strength in full sized pick up truck sales in the United States, sales of full-sized sport utilities like Tahoe and Suburban. These are highly profitable units, and these are units that are just rolling off the shelves right now." The results posted by the U.S.' largest automaker sharply contrast with that of rival Ford, whose profit dropped due to safety recall costs and a drop in vehicle sales. GM's performance comes amid analysts' forecasts for a decline in industry sales this year. Millions of leased cars are due to flood the market in the next few years, and that could depress used-car values. And ratings agencies warn of deteriorating consumer credit. GM says it expects to drastically lower its inventory levels by year's end.