Ford Motor Co , the second-largest U.S. automaker, posted higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on the strength of its North American operations, but predicted a wider loss in Europe due to persistent weakness in the region.

Ford reported a per-share operating profit of 31 cents for the quarter, better than the average analyst estimate of 25 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Ford said quarterly revenue totaled $36.5 billion, with the lion's share coming from its North American operations.

In Europe, Ford lost more than $1.75 billion last year, about in line with its outlook for a loss of more than $1.5 billion.

Ford deepened its 2013 loss estimate in the troubled region to $2 billion. Previously, the automaker said it expected its 2013 performance in Europe to be roughly equal to its 2012 loss.

(Reporting By Deepa Seetharaman and Paul Lienert; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)