General Motors (NYSE:GM) announced on Thursday that it earned $1.5 billion during the second quarter, down 41% from $2.5 billion last year.
The auto giant’s revenues for the quarter were $37.6 billion, down 5% from 2011.
EPS came in at 90 cents, which topped Wall Street’s estimate of 75 cents, the Associated Press noted. Shares of General Motors rose fractionally in early Thursday trading.
GM’s earnings were hit by poor performance at its European unit, which lost $361 million, compared to a pretax $102 million profit last year. GM’s sales dropped 7% to 454,000 vehicles in Europe during the quarter.
With Europe’s economic crisis continuing, GM officials couldn’t say when the company’s operations there would turn a profit, citing the ongoing uncertainty.
South American operations also slipped into the red, losing $19 million.
General Motors generated $2 billion in profits in North America and $557 million in earnings in Asia, but those profits were down 13% and 3%, respectively, from last year. GM officials warned that North American profits during the current quarter were expected to be lower.
Yesterday, the company reported that it sold 201,237 vehicles in the U.S. during July, down 6% from last yea and below the 214,315 analysts had predicted. Ford (NYSE:F) also reported lower year-over-year sales for July, though Chrysler posted a 13% jump.
General Motors is part of InvestorPlace‘s Real America Index, a list of companies — one from each state — whose performance provides a window on the health of the U.S. economy. General Motors represents the state of Michigan in the index.