GM described its second-quarter results as "solid" but said some of its austerity measures, including worker furloughs, would become permanent

New York (AFP) - General Motors reported a smaller-than-expected loss Wednesday as strong pricing for some newer auto models partially mitigated the hit from much lower sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The big US automaker lost $758 million in the second quarter, compared with a $2.4 billion profit in the year-ago period.

The company described the results as “solid” amid the pandemic, and said steps it had taken to cut costs meant the automaker was well-positioned to weather the storm.

GM said some of the austerity measures, which included worker furloughs, would become permanent.

“We have a track record of making swift and strategic decisions to ensure our long-term success for the benefit of all our stakeholders,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.

“We will continue to drive the necessary change throughout the company to enable growth as we prepare to deliver a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”

Strong truck and SUV sales continued to support US results, GM said, but US sales were down 34 percent due to the COVID-19-imposed production shutdowns.

Sales in China were down just 5.3 percent while global sales fell 24 percent, the company said.

Revenues were below expectations at $16.8 billion but the results translated into a loss of just 50 cents per share, far better than the expected hit of $1.77 a share.

Shares of the auto giant rose nearly four percent in pre-market trading.