General Motors Corp. yesterday reported a second quarter profit of $560 million, despite a 11 percent drop in sales from the same period a year ago, due largely to the company's extensive cost-cutting measures.

GM had net sales of $17.1 billion in the second quarter, down from $18 billion last year. The $560 million earnings ($1.82 a share) compared with a $515 million profit ($1.72) in the same quarter a year ago.

For the first half of 1982, GM earned $688 million compared with $705 million last year, with net sales of $31.8 billion for the six months, down from $33.7 billion in 1981. GM's battle to control costs has included negotiated wage concessions with the United Auto Workers, tougher bargaining with suppliers, and major white collar staff reductions.

American Motors Corp. reported its ninth straight quarterly loss, losing $68.7 million ($1.24 per share) in the second quarter of this year.

That compares with a loss of $19.9 million (35 cents) for the period a year ago, an AMC statement said.

AMC lost $51 million in the first quarter, bringing the loss for the first six months of 1982 to $119.7 million, the statement said.

In 1981, AMC lost $136.6 million.

AMC Chairman Paul Tippett blamed the red ink on the automaker's closing of Jeep and car plants for model changeover, "extraordinary one-time costs" to launch its new Alliance model and devaluation of the peso in Mexico, where AMC sells cars and Jeeps.

Tippett said the introduction of the sporty Renault Fuego in the spring helped push the French automaker Renault's U.S. sales to their highest level since AMC and Renault joined marketing operations in 1979. Some 17,557 Renaults were sold in the quarter.

Renault owns 46 percent of AMC.

The last time the No. 5 U.S. automaker reported a quarterly profit was in the first quarter of 1980, when AMC earned $1.3 million.

Meanwhile, GM and Ford Motor Co.reportedly are planning to build 200,000 fewer cars than expected in the last half of this year, seriously jeopardizing the industry's hopes for a sales rebound in 1982. According to Ward's Automotive Reports, a trade publication, the top two automakers have cut back because of a declining auto market.

New York Times Co., citing strength in its print media groups, said yesterday its second-quarter profit rose 6 percent from a year earlier on a 13 percent revenue gain.

The company owns The New York Times and 18 smaller-city newspapers. It also has interests in magazines, books, broadcasting-cable television and forest products.

In the second quarter, the company's profit rose to $15 million ($1.19 a share) from $14 million ($1.13), a year earlier. Revenue rose to $238.1 million from $210 million.

In the first six months of 1982, the company's earnings climbed to $33.9 million ($2.70), from $26.2 million ($2.11), in the comparable 1981 period. First-half revenue rose 14 percent to $463.6 million from $405 million.