Ford increases market share in US
Car manufacturer Ford Motors today predicted 2013 total operating profit would match results last year as market share gains in the United States offset deepening losses in Europe.
Ford said the sales outlook was deteriorating in Europe, and it now expects to lose $2 billion in 2013, worse than the loss of $1.75 billion in 2012.
By contrast, Ford, the second biggest US vehicle manfacturer, expects to earn more money in North America in 2013. The region was Ford's chief source of strength last year and helped it handily beat Wall Street estimates for the fourth quarter.
"We're likely to see, in the euro zone, a recession for the full year," chief financial officer Bob Shanks told reporters after it reported quarterly results.
"Clearly we still have some difficult times in front of us (in Europe)," Mr Shanks said. "But we do think it will probably bottom this year."
Ford reported a per-share pretax operating profit of nearly $1.7 billion, or 31 cents in the fourth quarter, better than the average analyst estimate of 25 cents per share. This was also higher than the $1.1 billion, or 20 cents per share, it earned a year earlier.
Ford shares dipped about 1 per cent to $13.61 before the market opened. Fourth-quarter revenue totalled $36.5 billion.
Ford earned nearly $1.9 billion in North America in the quarter, almost $1 billion better than the fourth quarter of 2011. It lost $732 million in Europe, much worse than the $190 million loss it reported a year earlier.
The improved North American performance reflected efforts by Alan Mulally, hired as chief executive in 2006, to steer a turnaround. Ford avoided government bailouts needed by rivals General Motors and Chrysler in 2009.