GM warns on chip shortfall after earnings beat

Expert: 2021 will likely see biggest profit acceleration in decade

Richard Bernstein Advisors Deputy CIO Dan Suzuki weighs in on today’s markets and what to expect in the coming year.

General Motors reported stronger than expected profits on Wednesday driven by a recovery in truck and SUV sales.

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CEO Mary Barra helped push several successful vehicle launches of the more profitable lines, including GM’s new line of full-size SUVs, despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to investors, Barra cited the company's ability to recover.

"Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac were especially well prepared when demand recovered faster than expected – Chevrolet and GMC with their outstanding full-size and midsize pickups; and all four brands with a mix of new small- and full-size SUVs, which we launched on time despite the pandemic."

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Profits were $1.93 per share, beating consensus estimates of $1.64. The automaker saw $2.8 billion in net revenue for the quarter and $6.8 billion for the full year, which saw its largest year-over-year gain in market share since 1990.

Despite the solid quarter, GM cautioned that the ongoing semiconductor shortage that has affected the global automotive industry “will have a short-term impact on production, earnings and cash flow in 2021."

GM has had several production lines affected by the supply issues and on Tuesday extended the shutdown of three North American factories through mid-March.

Other automakers are also dealing with the chip shortage.

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The company has not yet offered an estimate on the total volume of vehicle production it expects to lose before the situation has been addressed but said it aims to make up much of the lost production before the end of the year.

GM will spend an estimated $7 billion in 2021 as part of its accelerated investments into electric and autonomous vehicle technology.

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