GM earns $3.2 billion in 1Q on higher sales

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General Motors says its first-quarter net income more than tripled on strong car sales in the U.S. and China.

The company’s first-quarter net income totaled $3.2 billion, or $1.77 per share, one of its best performances since the SUV boom in the early 2000s. It was GM’s fifth straight quarterly profit since late 2009, the year it emerged from bankruptcy.

Quarterly revenue rose 15 percent to $36.2 billion. Worldwide sales climbed 12 percent, including a 25-percent jump in the U.S.

GM’s net income includes a $1.6 billion gain from the sale of its stake in Delphi Automotive, its former auto parts division. Without one-time items, GM earned 82 cents per share.

GM earned $900 million, or 55 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2010.