The figure is a significant drop from the advanced estimate released a month ago that said the GDP rose 2.2 percent in the first quarter.
The new figure puts more distance between the first quarter of 2012 and the final quarter of 2011, when the GDP rose 3 percent.
Thursday's release is based on more complete information, but it is not the final word on the estimate. A third and final estimate is due at the end of June.
Commerce said motor vehicle output added 1.12 percentage points to the GDP after a 0.47 percentage point contribution in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Consumer spending rose 2.7 percent in the first quarter after rising 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter.
In its first estimate of first quarter corporate profits, the department said profits among public firms rose by $11.4 billion in the quarter after rising by $16.8 billion October through December.