Ford has cemented its position as the most viable carmaker out of the Detroit 3, with the company’s first quarter financial results showing some very promising figures. Ford is the only Detroit 3 carmaker operating without federal bailout loans and while it still posted a $1.4 billion loss over the past quarter, its fourth straight quarterly loss, the company still managed to finish with cash reserves of $21.3 billion - up from $13.4 billion at the end of 2008. During this time, Ford also managed to reduce its debt by $9.9 billion, or by about 38%.

This performance was achieved during a period where U.S. sales were at a 27-year low, and when its closest rivals, General Motors and Chrysler, are on the brink of bankruptcy and are surviving on $17.4 billion in federal loans. Ford’s own performance saw revenue drop from $39.2 billion to $24.8 billion.

The company’s North American operation by far was the worst performer, with losses registering at $637 million before taxes. Ford of Europe posted a pre-tax loss of $550 million.

Incidentally, Ford hasn’t had an annual profit since 2005, and last year's $14.7 billion net loss was a record, and with losses last year of $14.7 billion, 2009 isn’t shaping up to be any better. Current estimates see the Blue Oval breaking even no earlier than 2011.