DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. posted a fourth-quarter profit today and swung to its first full-year profit since 2005 with the help of accounting gains while forecasting an operating profit for this year.
The results showed continued progress in CEO Alan Mulally’s recovery efforts in the face of the weakest U.S. sales in 27 years.
“While we still face significant business environment challenges ahead, 2009 was a pivotal year for Ford and the strongest proof yet that our One Ford plan is working and that we are forging a path toward profitable growth by working together as one team, leveraging our global scale,” Mulally said in a statement.
Ford reported fourth-quarter net income of $868 million compared with a loss of $5.9 billion a year earlier. Ford snapped a three-year streak of losses by recording a net profit of $2.7 billion for 2009 compared with a loss of $14.8 billion in 2008. Last year’s results were aided by large gains from debt-reduction efforts and other items.
Ford’s operating profit, after taxes, for the fourth quarter was $1.6 billion compared with a loss of $3.3 billion a year ago. For the year, Ford’s operating profit was $8 million compared with a loss of $7.3 billion a year earlier.
Ford finished the year with $25.5 billion in automotive gross cash and $34.3 billion in automotive debt.
“We’re going to be profitable in 2010,” said CFO Lewis Booth, issuing the automaker’s first forecast for the year. Three months ago, Ford changed its 2011 outlook to “solidly profitable” from “break-even or better.”
Booth reiterated the “solidly profitable” plan today.
Ford posted losses totaling $30 billion from 2006 through 2008, including a record $14.7 billion net loss in 2008.
Ford is also raising production in the first quarter in North America by 20,000 units to 570,000 units from previously announced 550,000 units.
by Jamie LaReau, Automotive News
John Paul Strong
John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 140 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.