General Motors Corp., the world's biggest automaker, reported a net loss of $3.25 billion in the first quarter as its North American division continues to struggle.

The results beat Wall Street expectations of a bigger loss, sending the company's stock up more than 8 percent in early trading.

GM said its net loss was $5.74 per share, compared with a net income of $62 million, or 11 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago. It was the Detroit-based automaker's third consecutive quarterly loss.

Total revenue was down 1.6 percent to $42.7 billion, from $43.4 billion in the year earlier period.

Excluding one-time charges, it lost $350 million, or 62 cents per share. That beat expectations of a $1.60 cents per share loss, according to a poll of analysts from Thomson Reuters.

Earnings were impacted by an $800 million strike into its second month at one of GM's suppliers, American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings.

Another contributor to its big loss for the quarter included a non-cash charge of $731 million linked to costs at supplier Delphi Corp. It also had a $276 million adjusted pretax loss connected to its stake in GMAC, the finance company it spun off.

In the first quarter, rival Toyota Motor Corp. took the lead for global sales ahead of GM. International profits grew year earlier. All its global regions except the U.S saw sales increases.

The North America region had a $812 million pretax loss from a $208 million loss last year. The company is working to reduce costs by closing plants and negotiating more economic labor agreements with unions.

Europe profit rose to $75 million. The Asia-Pacific region net rose to $286 million while the Latin America-Africa-Middle East region grew to $517 million.

The company said it had liquid funds worth between $23.9 billion and $24.7 billion, including cash, securities and other funds.

Earlier this week, citing higher gasoline prices and a slowing economy, GM said it cut back on the production of large trucks and sports-utility vehicles, and will cut more about 3,500 jobs from July to September, about 4 percent of its 80,000 employee workforce.

Shares of GM opened rose $1.77, or 8.35 percent to $22.97 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.