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A worker at the Vauxhall car factory in the U.K. gets his temperature read. Photo: Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images

There's a growing consensus that automakers can safely resume vehicle production this month as they continue to ride strong demand for pickup trucks and SUVs through the coronavirus crisis.

The big picture: The pandemic crippled auto production and sales as it rolled across the globe, but signs of improving business in China are providing hope that the industry will see a similar V-shaped recovery in North America.

Driving the news: "We're certainly seeing green shoots in China," General Motors' CFO Dhivya Suryadevara told reporters during a call to review first-quarter results.

  • In the U.S., she said, "there are bright spots in the industry," particularly surging truck sales in regions not heavily affected by the virus.
  • Other automakers have also been encouraged by China's rebound, but Volkswagen warned that Europe could take longer to bounce back.

By the numbers: GM reported a net profit of $294 million, down 87% from the first quarter a year ago on a 6% drop in revenue to $32.7 billion — beating Wall Street's low expectations.

Between the lines: This is the first big test of GM's resiliency since the global financial crisis in 2009 pushed the company into a government-backed bankruptcy.

What's next: GM and FCA have announced plans to restart production in North America on May 18. Ford has not given a date, but will likely do the same.

  • They'll start slowly, operating just one shift, and then gradually ramp up.
  • Employees are being trained on strict health safety protocols developed jointly with the United Auto Workers union.

What to watch: Vehicle demand is still in question. While China's rebound is encouraging, the economic fallout of the prolonged shutdown of the American economy is too difficult to read, GM officials said.

Go deeper

GM toys with spinning off its electric vehicle business

Coming in 2022: the electric Cadillac LYRIQ. Photo: GM

Wall Street still views General Motors as yesterday's news, so one way for GM to get credit for its in-house capability is to spin off its electric vehicle operations as a stand-alone business.

Why it matters: Pure plays on electric vehicles are all the rage among investors — just look at Tesla's valuation.

8 mins ago - Health

CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot

Photo: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidelines Tuesday that some immunocompromised people who have received either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines will be able to get a fourth shot.

Details: People over 18 who are "moderately to severely immunocompromised" and have received three doses of an mRNA vaccine may get a fourth shot (of either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines) at least six months after getting their third Pfizer or Moderna dose, per the CDC.

Scoop: Biden plan expected to include at least $500B for climate

Photo: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House is privately telling lawmakers the climate portion of President Biden's roughly $2 trillion social spending plan is "mostly settled" and will likely cost more than $500 billion, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: A pricetag of $500-555 billion is a huge number and, if it holds, would likely be the single biggest component of the sweeping package. It also isn't far off from the roughly $600 billion proposed when the bill was expected to cost $3.5 trillion.