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Ford sees record profits in North America in first quarter

The New York Times (4/25, Vlasic, Subscription Publication) reports, “The Ford Motor Company said on Wednesday that its net income improved 15 percent in the first quarter to $1.6 billion, as record results in North America compensated for losses in Europe and South America.” The automaker’s sales in the US “rose 11 percent in the first three months of this year, compared with a 6 percent increase for the overall industry. In North America, Ford posted a pretax profit of $2.4 billion, a 14-percent improvement over the same period a year ago.”

The Detroit Free Press (4/25, Priddle) reports, “Ford’s global revenue rose 10.5% to $35.8 billion, almost all of it coming from Americans buying more cars and trucks at higher prices.” While the automaker “once was overly reliant on trucks, several of its cars, especially the Fusion, Focus and the Escape crossover, are selling briskly.” Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks “said the mix is better for the company long term, but Ford took a $300 million hit in the quarter because small vehicles have smaller profit margins than pickups and large SUVs. Pickup sales have also picked up as the housing market continues to recover.”

The Detroit News (4/24, Henkel) reported the “automaker lost $462 million in Europe last quarter, in line with its previous guidance. Ford expects to lose $2 billion in Europe this year as auto sales fall to record lows.” The company “posted a small profit of $6 million in Asia, where its market share now sits at 3 percent. It’s the third consecutive quarter Ford has posted a profit in the region.” While in South America, the company lost $218 million.

USA Today (4/24, Meier) noted, “A major focus for Ford is growth in its Asia-Pacific-Africa business, particularly China, where it playing catch-up with Detroit rival General Motors and other global giants such as Volkswagen that have a big head start there.” The company “has been making gains in China, with market share up to 3.5%, and reported earlier this month that March wholesale sales there were up 65% to 81,387 passenger and commercial vehicles and that first-quarter wholesale sales were up 54% to 186,596.”

Bloomberg News (4/25, Trudell) reports, “Ford forecast that it would boost global production by 13 percent from a year earlier to 1.65 million vehicles. Output may rise to 800,000 vehicles in North America and 390,000 in Europe, up 63,000 and 21,000, respectively.”

The Wall Street Journal (4/25, Bennett, Ramsey, Subscription Publication), the AP (4/24, Durbin) and other media sources also cover the story.

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