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Ford Quarterly Profit Falls on Revamping Costs

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Ford Motor Co. said its third-quarter profit declined by more than half as the automaker continues to revamp its operations outside North America.

The Dearborn, Mich.-based company posted third-quarter net income of $425 million, or 25 cents a share, compared with $991 million, or 11 cents, a year earlier. Revenue slipped to almost $37 billion from $37.7 billion in 2018’s third quarter.

Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes improved slightly to $1.8 billion from $1.7 billion a year earlier.

However, Ford also cut its forecast for full-year earnings before interest and taxes to between $6.5 billion and $7 billion, compared with $7 billion in 2018.

The quarterly results included costs stemming from Ford forming a joint venture with India’s Mahindra. That venture will include what had been Ford’s India operations. Mahindra will own 51 percent of the joint venture.

The automaker currently relies on its home North America base for the bulk of profit. The company is trying to reduce costs and improve the performance of units in Europe, South America, Asia and other regions.

“We have a bias for action and are driving disciplined, long-term execution,” Chief Financial Officer Tim Stone said in a statement.

Ford’s North American unit posted $2 billion in earnings before interest and taxes. Units in South America, Europe and Asia all recorded losses.

Truck Profit

The automaker is relying on profits from its F-Series pickups as well as other trucks and crossover vehicles while it invests in future products. Ford is looking to develop self-driving and electric vehicles as a long-term bet. Ford also is jointly developing some new models with Volkswagen AG. The company has also discontinued sedans.

In its home base, Ford is waiting to finish a deal with the United Auto Workers union for a new labor contract. The Detroit-based UAW concentrated its bargaining efforts on General Motors Co. The UAW went on strike in mid-September against GM before reaching an agreement last week.

Union members at GM have been voting whether to ratify that accord. Once that is settled, the union will move to finish new contracts at Ford and FCA US LLC.

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