Ford expects less profit in 2014

US car giant says its mid-decade targets were now at risk

Ford CEO Alan Mulally unveils the 2015 Ford Mustang in New York earlier this month.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally unveils the 2015 Ford Mustang in New York earlier this month.

Wed, Dec 18, 2013, 15:40

Ford Motor said it expects lower pretax profit in 2014 and that its target for global automotive operating margin is at risk, due to economic conditions in Europe and South America, driving Ford shares down more than 4 per cent.

Ford said it expects global pretax profit would be between $7 billion and $8 billion next year, down from an estimated $8.5 billion in 2013. Previously, Ford had said its 2013 profit would exceed $8 billion.

Ford said its mid-decade target for operating margins worldwide of between 8 percent and 9 per cent was at risk.

This year’s earnings will mainly come from North America, where the company expects a profit of $8.34 billion.

North America will be less profitable in 2014, with operating margins of between 8 per cent and 9 per cent, which is down from a previously expected 10 per cent.

While Ford has said it continues to plan for Alan Mulally to remain as chief executive through at least 2014, the 68-year-old is a candidate to take over the lead at Microsoft.

“Investors don’t like the lack of clarity on succession, but it’s not as if with Mulally gone, things will go off track,” according to Emmanuel Rosner, a New York-based analyst for CLSA Americas.

- Reuters