Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

January 29, 2014

Ford 4Q profit beats forecasts

DEARBORN (AP) — Ford Motor Co. enjoyed one of the best years in its history in 2013, but the celebration won’t last long.

Ford has already warned that profits will be down this year as it launches a record 23 vehicles and builds seven plants around the world. It’s anticipating 13 weeks of down time — up from five in 2013 — at its two U.S. pickup truck plants to prepare for the launch of a new aluminum-clad F-150. And instability in South America and price competition in the U.S. are constant threats.

“This is sort of a preparation year, as we consolidate the gains of the past and prepare for even stronger growth in the future,” Ford’s Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told reporters Tuesday.

In 2013, though, Ford powered to a full-year profit of $7.2 billion, or $1.76 per share. On a pretax basis, Ford made $8.56 billion, its second-highest pretax profit in a decade after the $8.8 billion in earned in 2011.

Full-year revenue rose 10 percent to $146.9 billion.

Dearborn-based Ford posted record pretax profits in North America and Asia. Full-year North American profits were up 5 percent to $8.8 billion, thanks in part to big demand for Ford pickups as the U.S. economy improved. Ford was the only major automaker to see a double-digit U.S. sales gain, at 11.7 percent.

Because of Ford’s strong North American performance, its 47,000 U.S. hourly workers will get about $8,800 each in profit sharing payments on March 13, up from $8,300 in 2012, the company said. That’s a record amount.

Unionized workers at Ford, GM and Chrysler all agreed in 2011 to take profit-sharing over pay raises. The checks at Ford will be the highest in the industry.

Ford also grew at a fast clip in Asia. Its sales jumped 49 percent to more than 935,000 in China thanks to new vehicles like the EcoSport and Kuga SUVs. Ford earned a record $415 million in its Asia Pacific and Africa region last year.

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