Ford today reported a profit of $2.1 billion for the first three months of the year, beating most estimates by almost 50 percent and coming in a staggering $3.5 billion over the same period just one year ago. Ford cites strong demand for new products, streamlining of its global operations and higher profits from its Ford Credit financing division as the main reasons behind the stellar result.
Excluding special items, Ford reported a pre-tax operating profit of $2 billion, or 46 cents per share, an improvement of $4 billion from a year ago. It marked Ford’s highest quarterly pre-tax operating profit in six years.
Even Ford North America, the worst performance sector of the Blue Oval empire for the past couple of years, managed to return a profit of $1.2 billion. In fact, strong response to new products actually drove the largest quarterly U.S. market share gain since 1977. Not surprisingly, Ford expects to build 625,000 units in North America this quarter--that's up by 30,000 units from Ford's previous guidance and up by 194,000 units compared with a year ago. Most other regions also remained in the black.
First quarter revenue was $28.1 billion, up $3.7 billion from the same period a year ago--and if Volvo had been excluded from the automaker’s 2009 result, revenue would have increased by more than $7. Luckily for Ford, the company has already reached an agreement to offload its struggling Swedish subsidiary.