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Detroit Big Three Surge in Beating Estimates Except Shares: Cars

Home was where the hemorrhaging happened three years ago when two Detroit automakers headed for bankruptcy and a third suffered record losses. Now North America has become a money machine for the Detroit Three, which earned $4.5 billion there in the first quarter on surging U.S. sales.

General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC exceeded estimates with first quarter net income that totaled $3.2 billion. The most pleasant surprise was healthy North American operating margins of 11.5 percent at Ford, 7 percent at GM and 4.5 percent at Chrysler. Even combined losses of $405 million in Europe for GM and Ford were better than analysts anticipated from a region in an intractable financial crisis.