General Motors (GM) and Ford will report third-quarter earnings this week, coming amidst the sixth week of ongoing strikes and contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.
A lot hangs on the reports, and the UAW will likely leverage any bullishness and successes compared to Wall Street expectations shared by the automakers to demand further concessions in contract negotiations, as CNBC points out in a Sunday report. On the other hand, the companies could scare off investors if the impacts of UAW labor efforts or general bearishness on guidance are evident.
In data from LSEG (formerly Refinitiv), Wall Street expectations predict that GM will report earnings of $1.88 per share in Q3, while they estimate that Ford will report $0.45 per share in the same quarter.
GM will release its Q3 2023 financial results on Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. ET, according to the company’s website. Following the meeting, GM will also hold a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Ford is set to announce its Q3 2023 financial results on Thursday, starting at 4:05 p.m. ET, according to a press release. The webcast for the online event will be available here, and the automaker will hold an earnings call afterward at 5:00 p.m. ET.
Throughout the contract negotiations, the UAW has pulled from earnings reports and public statements from executives of the “Big Three” of Detroit, which includes Ford, GM and Chrysler-parent Stellantis.
“When you’re in bargaining you want to use every piece of news that’s in your favor and bring it up and bring it to the public and to the table,” says Art Wheaton, Cornell University professor of labor at the Worker Institute. “If GM, Ford and Stellantis are still very profitable for the third quarter, [UAW’s] going to claim that, ‘They’re being too cheap in bargaining, and they should give us more.’”
Despite some recent concessions from the automakers in contract negotiations, UAW President Shawn Fain noted in a statement on Friday that the companies were all “extremely profitable,” adding that there is still “more to be won.” The statements came just as Ford laid off an additional 364 workers in two states.
JPMorgan has estimated that the UAW strikes have cost Ford $145 million in Q3 before interest and taxes, while the firm estimates it has cost GM $191 million. In Q4 so far, the firm thinks losses have increased to $517 million and $507 million for Ford and GM, respectively.
The estimates come after Ford workers walked off the job at the automaker’s highly profitable Kentucky Truck Plant earlier this month, which produces the company’s F-Series Super Duty pickup, the Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator SUV.
Additionally, if labor efforts are successful, many analysts predict that labor costs will be passed along to the price of the vehicles and thus to consumers. Last Monday, Wolfe Research analyst Rod Lache predicted that labor costs would jump by $3,000 to $4,000 per vehicle based on the latest proposals to the UAW. At the same time, he expects competitor costs to increase by $2,500 to $3,000.
“This could compound other challenges that the OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] face (e.g. competitiveness in batteries, distribution, design),” Lache said. “And we also worry that the OEMs may still not fully appreciate the long-term risks associated with UAW’s new tack — including bargaining in public, social media, and populism. The Automakers appear to be struggling to adjust to this reality.”
The news comes after Tesla reported its Q3 earnings last week, posting a non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.53, beneath Wall Street expectations of $0.64 per share. Additionally, the non-union automaker posted $23.35 billion in revenue during the quarter, though analysts expected the company to report a revenue of $23.9 billion.
You can find our live coverage of Tesla’s Q3 2023 earnings call here.