Ford 3Q Profit Slips Amid F-150 Switchover

Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE:F) third-quarter earnings dropped 34% as sales suffered from a transition to the new F-150 pickup truck.

The automaker said Friday it earned $835 million, or 21 cents a share, compared to $1.27 billion, or 31 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. Ford beat Wall Street expectations, posting adjusted per-share earnings of 24 cents versus 45 last year. Analysts were looking for 19 cents.

Revenue dropped 2.5% to $34.9 billion, also topping the consensus estimate of $33.1 billion.

Ford said it remains on schedule to launch a redesigned F-150 later this year. In order to build the aluminum-bodied truck, Ford had to shut down its F-150 plant in Dearborn, Mich., sacrificing production of the current model.

Pretax earnings in North America dropped to $1.41 billion from $2.29 billion. In past quarters, strength in North America has buoyed Ford’s results.

Ford booked a North America pretax margin of 7.1%, while larger rival General Motors (NYSE:GM) reported a 9.5% third-quarter margin. Excluding $630 million in additional warranty costs, Ford’s margin would have reached 10.2%, the company noted.

The Asia-Pacific region saw a pretax profit of $44 million, below the year-ago quarter’s $116 million. According to Ford, results in Asia-Pacific were strained by costs tied to five new factories and the introduction of Lincoln, its luxury brand.

Struggles in Europe continued. Ford’s loss expanded to $439 million versus $257 million. In South America, Ford swung to a $170 million loss. The segment recorded a $160 million profit a year ago.

Last month, Ford cautioned that operations in Europe and South America were taking longer than expected to turn the corner. The No. 2 Detroit automaker pulled its guidance for a profit in Europe by 2015.

In the latest period, Ford said hefty expenses in Russia offset increases in European revenue and market.

Ford reported higher profits at its auto lending arm, Ford Motor Credit. The unit generated earnings of $498 million, up from $363 million.

Shares dropped 3.1% to $13.94 in recent trading. Ford is down 9.7% since the start of 2014.