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Ford Motor Reports 3Q Earnings Rebound

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Ford Motor Co. today reported a third-quarter earnings rebound on sales of trucks and SUVs.

The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker posted a quarterly profit of $2.39 billion, or 60 cents a share, up from $425 million, or 11 cents, for the same period last year.

Revenue for the quarter rose to $37.5 billion from almost $37 billion for 2019’s third quarter.

The automaker attributed the increase to its 2018 decision to concentrate on selling trucks and “phase out unprofitable sedans.”

Ford’s primary source of profit was its home North American unit, which post earnings before interest and taxes of $3.18 billion.

“We haven’t suddenly fixed the issues in our automotive business, but we have a clear turnaround plan to get that done,” Jim Farley, Ford’s CEO said in a statement. “That work is underway and we’re making progress.”

Farley took command of Ford on Oct. 1, succeeding Jim Hackett, who retired who had led the company since 2017.

Ford resumed North American production in May after factory shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The automaker earlier this year tapped credit lines to ensure it had enough cash to withstand economic shocks stemming from the virus.

The auto industry has recovered better than other manufacturing sectors from COVID-19. However, vehicle demand still lags what it was before the pandemic set in.

Ford cautioned some bumps remain.

The company forecasts its adjusted earnings before interest and taxes in the fourth quarter will range from breakeven to a $500 million loss. Ford expects to have lower shipments of its F-150 large pickup, one of its main sources of profit, as it ramps up output of a redesigned version of the vehicle.

Ford also expects higher costs from the introduction of its Mustang Mach-E and Bronco Sport. The company also forecast lower earnings from its Ford Credit unit.

The automaker is investing in self-driving and electric vehicles for its long-term future. Ford is counting on its truck lineup to provide the resources for those investments.

For the first nine months, Ford posted a profit of $1.51 billion, or 38 cents a share, compared with $1.72 billion, or 43 cents, for the same period in 2019. Nine-month revenue declined to $91.2 billion from $116.2 billion a year earlier.

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