For GM, the new benchmark, set in January, is profitability no later than 2018.
“We don’t see all the issues that impacted us in the quarter as rectified,” said Tim Mahoney, chief financial officer.
China’s trade disputes with the United States continue to exert a strong influence on sales as GM’s November sales fell 2.7 percent in China, compared with a year earlier. GM’s global sales fell nearly 1 percent in the same period. The automaker’s profit from sales fell nearly 4 percent compared with a year earlier, dragged down by the costs of lower pricing for goods in China.
In the United States, sales of crossovers with smaller engines rose about 7 percent in November, outpacing other kinds of vehicles, a more aggressive GM is counting on to help increase profits.
“The volume mix of commercial and fleet sales has improved, and our adjusted pricing has been steadily stable,” Mr. Mahoney said.
To help boost its earnings, GM plans to introduce three new crossover vehicles in the United States by 2021.
Shares of GM fell 4.5 percent Thursday in the wake of the third-quarter report.
For Chrysler, which had previously reported financial results ahead of GM, Mr. Mahoney noted the effect of commodity prices. In the third quarter, net income was slashed by more than half, largely due to a $417 million after-tax charge related to changing metal prices.
The market for trucks and sport utility vehicles has declined, hurting revenue in the United States and in China as well as higher raw materials costs.
But the new products are expected to help to turn around the fortunes of the auto maker, whose market capitalization is about $40 billion.
“We’re making progress with our cost actions to bring these expenses under control,” Mr. Mahoney said.