General Motors Co. posted higher second-quarter profit, handily beating estimates as it managed to get higher prices for its cars and trucks.

GM said it earned $2.5 billion, or $1.54 a share, up from $1.3 billion, or 85 cents a share, in the same quarter a year earlier. It was the automaker's sixth consecutive profitable quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of $1.20 a share.

Revenue rose 19 percent, to $39.4 billion, as it sold 2.32 million vehicles in the quarter, compared with 2.16 million vehicles a year ago. 

"GM's investments in fuel economy, design and quality are paying off around the world as our global market share growth and financial results bear out," said Dan Akerson, the company's chairman and CEO. 

"Our progress has been steady and we're preparing to launch more new products this year, including the Chevrolet Sonic in North America, the Opel/Vauxhall Zafira in Europe and the Baojun 630 in China to keep the momentum going," Akerson added.

U.S. automakers on Wednesday reported higher sales for the month of July, but the ongoing economic weaknesses doesn't bode well for the sector. The Detroit Big Three are all seeing sales increases from a year earlier, and executives are predicting that they should see a solid finish to 2011.

Separately, GM said it would launch two new luxury cars in 2012 -- the Cadillac XTS and a compact luxury sports sedan code named ATS.

GM emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 following a $52 billion federal bailout. The U.S. Treasury still owns 32 percent of GM's common shares.