Ford's Profit Jumps 63% on Strong Truck Sales

By Mike Colias Features Dow Jones Newswires

Ford Motor Co.'s third-quarter profit jumped 63% amid strong truck sales in North America, a lower tax rate and belt-tightening measures, leading the auto maker to outpace analyst expectations and brighten its profit outlook for the full year.

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The No. 2 U.S. auto maker by sales on Thursday reported net income of $1.6 billion for the July through September period, as stronger pricing on truck and sport-utility sales in its home market and a record profit in Asia helped offset losses in Europe and other overseas markets.

Ford tightened its full-year guidance for operating profit to $1.75 to $1.85 per share, from the $1.65 to $1.85 per-share range it pegged over the summer, a sign the company is optimistic about measures it is taking to improve its business, Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said during a round table with reporters.

Ford's results follow two days after its domestic rivals posted mixed results. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV earned record operating profit for the period. General Motors Co., meanwhile, reported an earnings decline due to the sale of European operations and deep production declines in North America.

Ford's operating income rose 40% to $2 billion, with margins in the core North America rising. Ford posted adjusted earnings per share of 43 cents, better than the average analysts' forecast of 33 cents.

Revenue grew 1% to $36.5 billion, surpassing Wall Street expectations of $32.8 billion.

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Ford cited early progress on new Chief Executive Jim Hackett's goal of slashing billions of dollars in engineering and manufacturing costs to improve Ford's "fitness" as it pivots to longer-term bets on electric cars and autonomous vehicles. Costs improved by about $700 million in the quarter.

"I would look at this as a first down payment (on) good strong cost management," Mr. Shanks said.

The company, however, posted a surprise loss in Europe related to continued fallout from Brexit in the U.K. market, and slimmer margins in China due to pricing pressure.

Write to Mike Colias at Mike.Colias@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 26, 2017 07:49 ET (11:49 GMT)