GM today announced financial results for the first quarter of 2008, revealing a $3.3 billion loss over the period – down from a modest loss of just $42 million one year ago. Revenue for the first quarter was $42.7 billion, down slightly from $43.4 billion in the year-ago quarter. This was primarily due to lower sales in the North American market. In contrast, revenues outside of North America were up over 20%, with strong growth in China, Brazil, Russia and India.

GM blamed the impact of the American Axle strike on its North American operations, which led to delays in production, as well as general weakness in the U.S. economy and a shift in demand from its key SUV and pickup models.

The reported results for the first quarter include unfavorable special items totaling $2.9 billion. The charges include a $1.45 billion non-cash write down of an investment in GMAC and $731 million to increase its liability in Delphi Corp's ongoing bankruptcy case.

Ford, meanwhile, managed to post a modest profit of $100 million dollars over the quarter and expects to return to full profitability by the end of the year.