Ford Motor Company has released its first-quarter earnings report, and the results are even better than analysts predicted. The company reported a profit of $2.6 billion for the first quarter of 2011, up from just over $2 billion for first-quarter 2010. First-quarter revenue was also up to $33.1 billion, up $5 billion year-over-year. It was Ford’s most profitable first quarter since 1998.
The successful quarter was attributed to a jump in sales both domestically and abroad. U.S. sales rose 16 percent, lead by new and more fuel-efficient products like the Fiesta, Fusion, Explorer, and F-series trucks. Sales likewise rebounded in Europe, leading to that region posting a pre-tax operating profit of $293 million, nearly double what it was in first-quarter 2010. Sales in developing markets were similarly strong, rising 18 percent year-over-year in China and 115 percent year-over-year in India.
“Our team delivered a great quarter, with solid growth and improvements in all regions,” Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement. “We expect our annual volumes to continue to grow substantially, driven primarily by our growing product strength.”
Ford said total vehicle sales in the second quarter of this year should be about 1.5 million units, a jump of 12,000 cars from the same time in 2010. The company’s cars are also selling at higher prices than before in the U.S., thanks to the desirability of new models and the availability of expensive option packages. Domestic sales are expected to climb even higher as the new 2012 Focus launches in the U.S., partly because the fuel-efficient car will become even more appealing as fuel prices climb, according to Automotive News.
In addition to the healthy sales numbers, Ford said its quality ratings in J.D. Power rankings have increased, and that the company is on track to increase product quality internationally. Ford also reported that it reduced its debt load, in part by redeeming $3 billion in Trust Preferred Securities, which helped increase its liquidity during the first quarter. The company also took more credit to help bolster liquidity.
Sources: Ford, Automotive News