Ford announced its third quarter financial results today, reporting a net income of $1.3 billion, down $359 million from last year because of special item spending of $498 million this quarter. However, this remains Ford’s 17th consecutive quarter of profitability taking into account the record pre-tax profit of $2.6 billion this quarter, $426 million higher than the third quarter of 2012.
North American sales volume was a large part of this profitability, as Ford’s strength in the full-size pickup segment helped wholesale volume in North America increase 13 percent over last year. Ford expects higher pre-tax profits compared with last year in North America for 2013 with an operating margin of 10 percent, compared to 10.4 in all of 2012.
Other markets were also strong this quarter, especially Asia Pacific Africa and South America. The Asia Pacific Africa region set a record profit this quarter thanks to aggressive expansion in China and India and new manufacturing hubs in this region as well. One Ford, the company’s plan to integrate its global model lineup, was definitely in play here, as strong sellers in China included the Kuga SUV (called Escape in the U.S.), the Focus, and the EcoSport.
Europe continues to be a sore spot, with a pre-tax loss of $228 million this quarter. Still, this is $240 million better than the company's $468 million loss in Europe in the third quarter of 2012, and Ford is in the midst of a transformation plan in Europe, which includes restructuring of its manufacturing plan, resulting in the shutdown of certain plants in Europe. Overall in 2013, the company expects the full year loss in Europe to be less than it was in 2012.