Truck sales drive record results at Ford; shares up
By Bernie Woodall
DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) reported first-quarter net income that more than doubled thanks to robust deliveries of pickup trucks in North America and a profit rebound in Europe, but cautioned that results in the second half of the year would likely not be as strong.
The automaker's net income of $2.45 billion, or 61 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter through March 31, was up 113 percent from $1.3 billion, or 29 cents per diluted share, a year earlier.
It reported record operating margins globally and in North America, and enjoyed its most profitable quarter in Europe since 2008.
During a conference call with analysts, Chief Executive Mark Fields said the automaker would be competitive with longer-range electric vehicles, and said Ford was developing such a vehicle, but he did not say when it would be introduced.
In December, Fields said Ford would spend $4.5 billion to expand its plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles by 2020.
Developing a longer-range vehicle is part of that effort, said Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks.
Excluding one-time items, Ford's earnings per share of 68 cents easily beat Wall Street expectations of 48 cents a share.
Shanks said on Thursday the second half of the year is not expected to generate as much profit as the first half. This was largely due to downtime for production plants in Europe and North America for normal summer and end-of-year shutdowns. Continued...